Groundwork’s Bilal Baydoun Concludes Special American Prospect Issue with “Taming the Pricing Beast”

June 14, 2024

Groundwork’s Bilal Baydoun Concludes Special American Prospect Issue with “Taming the Pricing Beast”

Special Prospect issue dives into the corporate pricing strategies that are pushing up costs for consumers with algorithms, personalized pricing, and more


Read the conclusion and the entire “How Pricing Really Works” issue


Listen to more about the special issue on Bloomberg’s Odd Lots


Today, Groundwork Collaborative’s Director of Policy and Research Bilal Baydoun concluded The American Prospect’s sweeping special June issue, “How Pricing Really Works,” with his piece, “Taming the Pricing Beast.” Baydoun dives into the potential remedies policymakers have at their fingertips to rein in the predatory pricing strategies running rampant in our economy.

Over the last two weeks, The American Prospect’s “How Pricing Really Works” special issue, a collaboration with Groundwork, has explored how corporations have combined their market dominance with high-powered technology to deploy a “dizzying array of sophisticated and deceitful tricks” to hike prices on consumers. The lesson for policymakers from the issue is clear: pricing today is about corporate power, not Econ 101. Baydoun writes in the conclusion:

“A new paradigm is needed to deal with high prices, one that involves Congress, executive branch regulatory and law enforcement agencies, state attorneys general, and the White House working in tandem to tackle the corporate power that enables predatory pricing. It means shaking off our obsession with ‘inflation,’ and instead thinking broadly about affordability and fairness.”

“​​Low taxation is a key yet under-discussed enabling force of this new pricing regime. Companies may be able to hike prices by taking advantage of their market power, technological innovation, and economic emergencies like the pandemic recession. But those higher prices reap supernormal profits because of tepid taxation, creating a perverse incentive to profiteer.”

Last month, Baydoun testified before the Senate Banking Committee on the pricing strategies corporations are using to cheat consumers and pull in record profits. Groundwork’s Lindsay Owens and The Prospect’s David Dayen joined Bloomberg’s Odd Lots podcast last week to discuss the special issue and the importance of pricing in our economy.

The Prospect’s special issue covered algorithmic collusion, personalized pricing, predatory junk fees, and more. You can find all of the pieces below:

Email to speak with one of Groundwork’s experts about the role of corporate power in high prices.


“The tax code doesn’t just raise revenue for investments. It’s arguably the single most important rulebook that structures incentives throughout our economy. This is why, at its inception, corporate taxation was seen as an anti-monopoly tool.”When corporations are too powerful, they will use that power to strong-arm both American workers and consumers. That’s particularly true when they can capture so much data about their customers, and use so many high-tech tricks and traps to get them to pay more.

“At the heart of pricing power is market power, the anti-competitive edge that allows companies to price their way to record profits. Antitrust enforcement offers a crucial tool in curbing these burdens on American consumers by addressing the core issue of concentration.”

“By establishing clear rules and enforcing them rigorously, agencies like the CFPB and FTC are helping to create a more transparent and fair marketplace, demonstrating the tangible benefits of regulatory vigilance in promoting economic fairness and consumer welfare.”

“There are limits to the bully pulpit, just as there are to everything else. But combined with concrete regulatory actions, government can mitigate unnecessary costs that make life more unaffordable for Americans. In a time when companies think they can use novel pricing strategies with impunity, it’s important for someone in power to tell them no.”