Senator Sanders introduces the BEZOS bill

09 September, 2018, 01:49 | Author: Martin Tyler
  • Sanders made the bill personal with the not so subtle dig by naming the bill acronym after Amazon boss Jeff Bezos

Amazon.com defended itself from accusations that it does not pay its workers a living wage from Vermont Sen.

"I'm afraid this is a solution that vilifies benefit recipients", said Jared Bernstein, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and former economic adviser to Vice President Joseph Biden, according to Vox.

While Sanders has repeatedly targeted Amazon and Bezos in his battle against corporate welfare, he says the bill focuses on other large corporations with low-paid employees. He wants to bring in legislation, so that large companies may be levied a tax that is equal to the government benefits that employees receive from their companies.

"We do not believe that taxpayers should have to expend huge sums of money subsidizing profitable corporations owned by some of the wealthiest people in this country", continued Sanders, who's partnering with California Rep. Ro Khanna on the bill. "Bezos continues to pay many thousands of his Amazon employees wages that are so low that they are forced to depend upon public assistance". Sanders said at a press conference that "the taxpayers of this country would no longer be subsidizing the wealthiest people in this country who are paying their workers inadequate wages".

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Amazon posted on Wednesday the positive responses that several employees sent to Sanders and shared with the company.

Bob Greenstein, the founder of CBPP, wrote in an analysis that the move could also result in corporations joining the anti-benefits fight. So, if an Amazon employee collects $2,000 worth of food assistance, the company, which just crossed $1 trillion in valuation, would be taxed at $2,000 to cover the cost.

But some economists said they anxious such measures may backfire by creating incentives for companies to avoid hiring workers who may be likely to collect federal benefits.

This could result in companies simply hiring fewer workers or workers that will work for cheaper while not drawing benefits. "For example, if a worker at a large employer receives $300 in food stamps, the employer would be taxed $300". "This would create strong, problematic incentives for employers in deciding whom to hire - and whom to lay off when a firm's sales hit hard times".

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King describes not being allowed to sit or talk to coworkers during backbreaking 10-hour shifts that require workers to be on their feet, walking miles a day through the massive warehouse where they scan, store, pick and pack items.

An activist dressed as Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos joins a protest gathering outside the Axel Springer building on April 24, 2018, in Berlin, Germany.

Plus, the legislation likely wouldn't do much to raise wages, the center said.

Amazon responded with an email to employees asking them to share positive stories about their work for the company. For full-time employees alone, the median income at Amazon is $34,123. "But the way you solve that problem matters a great deal and my concern here is that this solution will backfire".

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