Biden economist: Bernie Sanders Amazon, Stop BEZOS bill may backfire

Kenny Grant
September 9, 2018

Dorsey also went before the House Energy and Commerce committee as well.

Sen. Bernie Sanders unveiled legislation on Wednesday targeting pay and working conditions at big companies like Amazon, after the pair traded jabs in blog posts last week.

During a speech over the weekend, Sanders called out Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos for the company's pay practices, despite the businessman's vast fortune. Introducing legislation created to make large corporations pay for the welfare benefits their employees use, Sanders took issue with Amazon's CEO in particular.

The act is aimed at shaming companies like Amazon, Walmart and United Airlines who, despite being such large corporations, practically force their employees to depend on public assistance.

"The American taxpayer should not be subsidizing Jeff Bezos so he can underpay his employees", Sanders tweeted last week.

"My concern is that there is already a political movement afoot to vilify public benefits and even though I know for a fact that the main sponsors of this bill - Sanders and Ro Khanna - don't feel that way, I worry that this idea unintentionally provides the hard right with another argument", Bernstein told Business Insider.

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Amazon isn't the only company with more than 500 employees that Sanders singled out for criticism.

The proposal by the socialist who came within an ace of being the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee would tax employers one dollar for every dollar that their employees take in food stamp, health-care and other welfare benefits. Another is that employers would discriminate against hiring those who they think might trigger the tax.

"If employers in this country simply paid workers a living wage, taxpayers would save about $150 million a year in federal assistance programs and millions of workers would live in dignity and security", said Sanders, I-Vermont. "For example, if a worker at a large employer receives $300 in food stamps, the employer would be taxed $300".

Sanders has cited research from the Institute of Local Self-Reliance in favor of the bill, which highlighted Amazon workers enrolling in the Federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

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

The Washington Post reports that the bill was introduced "one day after Amazon reached $1 trillion in market cap, a milestone that cements its position as one of the world's wealthiest companies". For full-time employees alone, the median income at Amazon is $34,123.

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