In a bizarre tweet this week, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) called for a round of antitrust action against grocery stores, showing that the left’s antitrust crusade goes far beyond technology companies.
Warren tweeted: “What happens when only a handful of giant grocery store chains like @Kroger dominate an industry? They can force high food prices onto Americans while raking in record profits. We need to strengthen our antitrust laws to break up giant corporations and lower prices.”
It is stunning that Warren’s new target is so-called “Big Grocery,” a notoriously dynamic and competitive industry. In Warren’s home state of Massachusetts, shoppers can choose from over 60 supermarket chains. In Ohio, where the supposedly villainous Kroger is headquartered, shoppers have over 70 different supermarket chains to choose from. If Kroger cannot even drive out the competition in its home state, what makes Warren think that Kroger is a nationwide monopoly?
Monopoly prices, a defining characteristic of real monopolies, are also absent from the grocery industry. Conventional grocery stores have a razor-thin profit margin of between 2 and 3 percent. Kroger’s profit margin is 1.52 percent, slightly below average and hardly indicative of monopoly pricing.
Warren’s silly tweet illustrates two things. First, the tweet is a standard left-wing attack on the private sector in an attempt to shift blame away from the Biden Administration for runaway inflation. For months, Biden has cajoled agencies to “investigate” various industries for the inflation and supply chain issues that his liberal policies have caused.
Second, the tweet is yet another reminder that the left’s antitrust crusade goes far beyond Big Tech. The slate of antitrust bills Warren supports gives the Biden Administration sweeping new power to go after companies with a market cap of $600b. As of this writing, Kroger’s market cap is a comparatively small $34.74 billion.
If Warren is willing to use government power to beat the grocery industry into submission, a clearly competitive and dynamic industry, there is no limit to the left’s antitrust crusade.