Written by Jake Johnson for Common Dreams
Pennsylvania U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman made the case Sunday for prosecuting corporate executives as part of a broader government crackdown on unlawful price gouging and other business practices that have driven up the costs of medicine, groceries, and gas—padding company bottom lines at the expense of consumers.
“Take the massive oil companies, for example,” the Democratic candidate wrote in an op-ed for the Pennsylvania Times Leader. “Chevron, Exxon, and Shell have seen their profits increase 200% since last year, but they’re still charging us sky-high prices for gas. Companies like Tyson posted over a billion dollars in profits last quarter, while raising prices on meat products our families depend on.”
“It’s gross, and deeply unpatriotic, for the big corporations to be rolling around in cash while charging us record-high prices for gas and groceries,” wrote Fetterman, who is currently Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor. “We’ll crack down on this by prosecuting the executives of these huge corporations, including the Big Oil companies and meatpacking companies who are artificially driving up prices, gouging consumers at the pump and at the grocery store.”
Fetterman’s op-ed comes just over a week after he held his first major public event since suffering a stroke in mid-May, days before the Democratic primary contest that he won handily.
The Democrat’s general election campaign in the critical battleground Pennsylvania—a state that could determine which party controls the U.S. Senate next year—currently enjoys a double-digit polling lead over his Republican opponent, the former celebrity television personality and ultra-millionaire Dr. Mehmet Oz.
Fetterman is looking to press his advantage by continuing to deploy populist messaging that presents Oz as a carpetbagger whose extreme wealth and ties to corporate interests such as Big Pharma render him unfit to deliver for the working class, whose earnings are being eroded by surging prescription drug prices, housing costs, and other inflationary trends.
According to one recent analysis, pharmaceutical companies in the U.S. have raised drug prices more than 1,100 times so far this year.
“Let’s be clear: Dr. Oz just isn’t connected to the struggles that Pennsylvanians are facing every day,” Fetterman wrote in his new op-ed. “While he’s been complaining about rising prices from his New Jersey Mansion, I’ve been meeting Pennsylvanians on grocery store runs, speaking with them about the challenges they’re facing, and finding real policy solutions that get stuff done and make their lives better.”
“Working Pennsylvanians are getting screwed,” he continued. “While costs are rising and wages are failing to keep up, too many of our leaders in Washington simply aren’t doing enough. Out-of-touch politicians got us into this mess, we can’t trust an out-of-touch millionaire TV doctor to get us out of it.”
In addition to prosecuting corporate executives for price-gouging and other abuses, Fetterman voices support for a range of policy solutions aimed at tackling rising costs and inequality, including:
– Enacting a financial transaction tax on trades of stocks, bonds, and derivatives;
– Ending the stranglehold of healthcare costs on American families by instituting a cap of a thousand dollars per year on out-of-pocket costs;
– Passing legislation to allow for the importation of lower-priced prescription drugs from other countries; and
– Putting a cap on prescription drug costs.
“If we start getting stuff done, starting with these priorities I’ve listed,” Fetterman wrote, “we can make real change for the towns, cities, and people of Pennsylvania.”
This article was republished under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).