Kirsten Dunst in Marie Antoinette (2006)

Gross, Elitist ‘Wall Street Journal’ Headline Underscores the Need To End Corporate Rule

Let them eat eggs!

This week, the Wall Street Journal thought it was a good idea to publish an article with the headline: “To Save Money, Maybe You Should Skip Breakfast.” The article (behind a paywall because capitalism) goes over the increase in grocery prices over the past few months. It focuses on breakfast items like grain and eggs as having some of the steepest increases. Its conclusion is that people who like breakfast but can’t afford eggs should have a cup of coffee instead. Silly poor people, you can’t have breakfast and a subscription to WSJ!

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As the article pointed out, there are a few outstanding reasons prices have increased so much. Due to the war in Ukraine, grain supply chains have drastically changed. The avian flu that swept through America killed many birds and caused egg prices to skyrocket. WSJ left it at that. Sure, Jan, those are the only reasons people are struggling to afford staple foods. Maybe we should just skip all meals, WSJ! That will save a bunch of money! Thankfully, former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich is here to remind us what the real problem is: corporate food monopolies.

“Inflation” isn’t hurting the corporations

Conservatives and corporations have argued that rising food prices are directly connected to being forced to give employees a decent wage—or, as WSJ pointed out, supply chain issues. On the same day we were told to skip meals to save money, Reich posted an article on his website discussing “fake brand competition.” Specifically, he cited a Super Bowl commercial where two men fought over whether the commercial was for Coors or Miller Lite, only to have a frosty glass of Blue Moon put down at the end to show that it was actually a commercial for them.

It was kind of funny until Reich pointed out that all three beers are owned by the same enormous company, Molson Coors. So it really was a commercial for all three. The consumers watching the commercial at home think that these labels are fighting for your attention, just like in the ad. Molson Coors doesn’t care which brand you prefer out of over 100 beers they own, as long as you buy one of theirs. Reich goes on to say that it isn’t just beer monopolies we have to look out for, “just four giant corporations now control 85 percent of beef packing, 66 percent of pork, and 54 percent of poultry.”

In fact, most of the food we buy from the grocery store comes from ten mega-corporations that own hoards of smaller labels. The big ten are General Mills, Kellogg’s, Associated British Foods, Mondelez, Mars, Danone, Unilever, Coca-Cola, Nestle, and PepsiCo. Companies like PepsiCo not only hold several grocery brands, but they also own fast-food restaurants (Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, KFC, and The Habit Burger). I have been avoiding buying Nestle products because of their overuse of California water supplies for their Dasani bottled waters. Yet I didn’t know they also owned Gerber and Bisquick until I looked closely at an in-depth chart by Oxfam America that details these monopolies.

With recent high gas prices, Republicans have blamed Democrats. Yet, all the major oil companies posted extensive profits across the board for 2022, so maybe it has little today with current political party majorities and a lot more to do with corporate greed and unchecked business practices. The reality of rising food prices seems to mirror that of gas prices. In 2022, food companies also made higher than anticipated profits. Pepsico rose over 20%, and Coca-Cola made 14% more profit than they had in 2021. Next time you are at the grocery store and feel a little sick over the cost of eggs, remember that ending corporate rule is the only way to stop such bloated food prices.

Or just stop eating. I guess that would save some money, too.

(featured image: Columbia Pictures)

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D.R. Medlen
D.R. Medlen (she/her) is a pop culture staff writer at The Mary Sue. After finishing her BA in History, she finally pursued her lifelong dream of being a full-time writer in 2019. She expertly fangirls over Marvel, Star Wars, and historical fantasy novels (the spicier the better). When she's not writing or reading, she lives that hobbit-core life in California with her spouse, offspring, and animal familiars.