'Bobby Casey' gets nod for shrinkflation bill during State of the Union

Mar. 8—President Joe Biden's State of the Union address had the feel of a campaign rally and he lent some of that energy to another incumbent seeking reelection in 2024, Pennsylvania's U.S. Sen. Bob Casey.

While addressing domestic economic policies during his hour-plus address Thursday night, Biden turned his attention to inflation and price-gouging. He called out corporate practices where companies raise prices on consumer goods while providing less product.

"In fact, the snack companies think you won't notice if they change the size of the bag and put a hell of a lot fewer — same size bag — put fewer chips in it. No, I'm not joking. It's called shrinkflation," Biden said during the State of the Union address. "Pass Bobby Casey's bill and stop this. I really mean it."

The concept riled even the Cookie Monster. The Sesame Street character complained this week on social media platform X that cookies are getting smaller.

Following Casey's series of four reports last year about varied accounts of corporate greed under a similar moniker, "greedflation," he introduced the Shrinkflation Prevention Act in February.

The legislation would direct the Federal Trade Commission to create rules prohibiting manufacturers from engaging in the practice. It also would authorize the FTC and state attorneys general to file suit against companies accused of engaging in shrinkflation.

A second act he sponsored is the Price Gouging Prevention Act which targets price gouging in the same way and would enhance corporate transparency in quarterly federal filings requiring explanations about changes in product cost, gross margins and pricing strategies.

Citing an analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Casey's report states that corporate profits grew by 74% from 2020 through 2022, a rate five times faster than inflation during that same period.

"The federal reserve data allows us to prove that greedflation caused not just an increase in prices at the grocery store but we can specifically pinpoint what it means to the average Pennsylvania resident, thousands of dollars more," Casey told The (Sunbury) Daily Item during an interview in December.

Following the State of the Union address, Casey promoted both bills but gave even stronger backing to the strength of the American economy and the impact under Biden of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act.

Casey's presumptive Republican opponent this fall, David McCormick, a former hedge fund manager, called Biden and Casey's claim about greedflation "ridiculous," saying that trillions of taxpayer dollars spent "on their pet projects" triggered record-high prices for fuel, food and rent.

"We saw lots of excuses and no solutions from Joe Biden. With the rubber stamp of his friend Bob Casey, Biden's failed agenda has enabled open borders, violent crime and sky-high prices. In times of crisis, leadership matters more than ever, and it's clear we need new leaders and fresh ideas in Washington," McCormick wrote on X.