Progressives on Monday pointed to remarks by Federal Reserve Vice Chair Lael Brainard acknowledging the role of corporate profiteering in exacerbating inflation to underscore their opposition to interest rate hikes and other monetary tightening that favors Big Business over workers.\r\n\r\n\u0022The retail margin for motor vehicles sold at dealerships has increased by more than 180% since February 2020.\u0022\r\n\r\nWhile attributing high inflation to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and Russia\u0026#039;s invasion of Ukraine, Brainard—who was addressing a meeting of the National Association for Business Economics in Chicago—asserted that \u0022there is ample room for margin recompression to help reduce goods inflation\u0022 in the retail economy.\r\n\r\n\u0022Retail margins have increased 20% since the onset of the pandemic, roughly double the 9% increase in average hourly earnings by employees in that sector,\u0022 she noted. \u0022In the auto sector, where the real inventory-to-sales ratio is 20% below its pre-pandemic level, the retail margin for motor vehicles sold at dealerships has increased by more than 180% since February 2020, 10 times the rise in average hourly earnings within that sector.\u0022\r\n\r\nBrainard\u0026#039;s nod to what one observer called \u0022the elephant in the room\u0022 was secondary to her insistence that monetary tightening in the form of higher interest rates is the best way to tackle inflation.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\u0022It will take time for the cumulative effect of tighter monetary policy to work through the economy broadly and to bring inflation down,\u0022 she said. \u0022In light of elevated global economic and financial uncertainty, moving forward deliberately and in a data-dependent manner will enable us to learn how economic activity, employment, and inflation are adjusting to cumulative tightening in order to inform our assessments of the path of the policy rate.\u0022\r\n\r\nNoting that \u0022the labor market\u0026#039;s recovery from the pandemic-induced recession was a historic rebound,\u0022 the progressive podcast \u0022Pitchfork Economics\u0022 warned that \u0022if the Fed keeps pursuing outdated, harmful solutions, they will push us into a longer, deeper recession with consequences that reverberate for years to come.\u0022\r\n\r\nMeanwhile on Monday, Chicago Federal Reserve President Charles Evans said that the central bank\u0026#039;s number one priority is reducing inflation—even if monetary tightening costs people their jobs.\r\n\r\n\u0022Ultimately, inflation is the most important thing to get under control. That\u0026#039;s job one,\u0022 Evans argued during an interview on MSNBC. \u0022Price stability sets the stage for stronger growth in the future.\u0022\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nMembers of the Fed\u0026#039;s board of governors are widely expected to raise interest rates by 0.75% for the fourth consecutive time when they meet next month.\r\n\r\nLast month, a trio of progressive political economists told members of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform that the most effective way to curb rising prices is to take on the corporate profiteering fueling inflation.\r\n\r\n\u0022Even as input costs come down, corporate executives are gleefully reporting how they plan on keeping prices high,\u0022 one of the economists, Rakeen Mabud of the Groundwork Collaborative, told the lawmakers. \u0022Megacorporations are taking advantage of recent crises to make record profits for themselves and their shareholders.\u0022\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAnother one of the economists, former U.S. labor secretary and University of California, Berkeley professor Robert Reich, testified that \u0022the inflation we are now experiencing is not due to wage gains; it is due to increases in corporate profits.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022And it\u0026#039;s excessive profits, not wages, that need to be controlled,\u0022 he added.\r\n\r\nReich and others have urged Congress and U.S. President Joe Biden to pass windfall profits tax legislation like the Ending Corporate Greed Act introduced in March by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) in the Senate and Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) in the House. If passed, the measure would impose a 95% tax on the windfall profits of major corporations.