Sen. Casey’s latest consumer economic report takes aim at the ‘pink tax’ • Pennsylvania Capital-Star

In his latest look at how inflated prices result in higher costs for American consumers, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) released a report Tuesday outlining the ways women still pay more for many goods and services compared to men, a disparity known as the “pink tax.” 

“From personal care products to car insurance to school supplies, corporate CEOs are pink-taxing women and girls on products and services they need,” Casey said. “It’s clear that corporations have been making it harder for American women to save and get ahead financially. I’m going to keep fighting back against the big corporations that are putting their profits over people.”

The pink tax is, unfortunately, not a new phenomenon; a 2016 report — requested by Casey — from the Government Accountability Office found that “the target gender for a product is a significant factor contributing to price differences identified.” 

In addition to earning less — between 73% and 82% of what men earned in 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics — the effects of the pink tax also can add up over time for women. A 2023 study from JP Morgan Wealth Management found that the pink tax can cost women an average of $1,300 per year.  In 2020, a California Senate committee found that women in that state paid about $2,381 more per year for goods and services than men, adding up to $188,000 more over a woman’s lifetime.

The report from Casey’s office cited several examples of items priced higher for women than men: The largest size of men’s Levi 501 jeans cost $18.50 less than the smallest size of the same brand of women’s jeans on Levi’s website as of April 1. Toys, school supplies, and personal care products for women were all priced higher than the same products marketed to men, the report found.

“Many corporations seem to think that painting a product pink, adding glitter, incorporating a floral scent, or even just labeling the product ‘for her’ justifies a price hike,” the report states. 

Casey’s report also found that women on average pay more for services like haircuts (54% more), dry cleaning (92% more) and car insurance, where in 2021, women paid up to 7% more annually in 22 states. 

The pink tax report is part of Casey’s larger focus on corporations’ pricing strategies, which he argues is a form of price gouging against consumers.

New report from Sen. Bob Casey outlines impact of ‘greedflation’

“It’s clear that the pink tax plus greedflation equals a double whammy for American women,” the report states. “When women are forced to pay more than men for the same goods and services, it not only takes a toll on their budgets and bank accounts, it puts them at a financial disadvantage in our economy.” 

In February, Casey introduced two pieces of legislation aimed at curbing the practices: the Shrinkflation Prevention Act, which would penalize corporations that deceive consumers by selling smaller sizes of their products without lowering the prices, and the Price Gouging Prevention Act, which would crack down on corporate price gouging.

The Shrinkflation Protection Act would empower the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to establish shrinkflation as an unfair or deceptive practice, and would authorize the agency and state attorneys general to sue corporations that engage in it.

President Joe Biden made reference to the legislation during his State of the Union address in March. 

‘Bobby’ Casey and shrinkflation get a shout-out during Biden’s SOTU

“Too many corporations raise their prices to pad their profits, charging you more and more for less and less,” Biden said during the address. It’s a topic he also discussed during a television spot that aired on Super Bowl Sunday in February, where he called the practice a “ripoff.”

“Snack companies think you won’t notice when they charge you just as much for the same size bag, but with fewer chips in it,” Biden said during the SOTU. “Pass Bobby Casey’s bill and stop shrinkflation.”

According to the first “greedflation” report — based on the companies’ own financial disclosures and quarterly reports, as well as research from the Federal Reserve — corporate profits accounted for all the inflation in the first year of the pandemic recovery, roughly July 2020 to July 2021, and 41% of inflation overall in the first two years of the post-pandemic recovery period of July 2020 to July 2022.

The “Stuffing their Pockets” report released in November ahead of Thanksgiving, found that turkey prices fell in 2023, but were higher than they were in 2020. 



Originally published at penncapital-star.com,by Kim Lyons

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