Did corporate greed fuel inflation? It's not biggest culprit

WASHINGTON (AP) - Furious about surging prices at the gasoline station and the supermarket, many consumers feel they know just where to cast blame: On greedy companies that relentlessly jack up prices and pocket the profits.

Responding to that sentiment, the Democratic-led House of Representatives last month passed on a party-line vote - most Democrats for, all Republicans against - a bill designed to crack down on alleged price gouging by energy producers.

Likewise, Britain last month announced plans to impose a temporary 25% windfall tax on oil and gas company profits and to funnel the proceeds to financially struggling households.

Yet for all the public's resentment, most economists say corporate price gouging is, at most, one of many causes of runaway inflation - and not the primary one.

"There are much more plausible candidates for what's going on," said Jose Azar an economist at Spain's University of Navarra.

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