Fortunately, the rising costs of energy, cars and a host of other goods show signs of easing in the year ahead. The price of gas peaked in November at nearly $3.40 per gallon, went down in December, and is projected to be just above $3 over the course of 2022 and around $2.80 in 2023. Car prices should settle down as factories come fully back online, though the global shortage of semiconductors persists. Meanwhile, the price of other goods may stabilize as fewer container ships are waiting in ports and shipping capacity improves.
But another culprit remains at large: The massive corporations taking advantage of these problems, using the cover of inflation to raise prices and boost their bottom line — and even admitting as much to shareholders. Nearly two-thirds of the biggest U.S. publicly traded companies reported higher profit margins through mid-November than they did over the same stretch of 2019. Nearly 100 of these large corporations have reported profit margins that are at least 50 percent above 2019 levels.