Bernie Sanders, Ro Khanna introduce Stop BEZOS Act

Roman Schwartz
September 9, 2018

As promised, Senator Bernie Sanders introduced a bill Wednesday that would tax Amazon, Walmart and other big companies whose workers collect public assistance.

Bernie Sanders says people who work for the richest person in the world, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, shouldn't have to rely on public assistance for food and shelter.

"I think it is fair to say the American people are exhausted of having to subsidize the wealthiest people in this country who are paying wages that are just so low that people can't get by", Sanders said at a press conference.

Other large companies mentioned as reasons for the bill included Walmart, which "pays its associates wages so low that many of them are forced to rely on food stamps, Medicaid and public housing to survive at a cost to US taxpayers of an estimated $6.2 billion a year", Sanders' office said.

'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. "That is what a rigged economy looks like".

By sponsoring the "Stop BEZOS Act" with the support of Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), Sanders is taking aim at the companies that he believes are holding Americans back from overcoming poverty.

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He argued that Amazon's average pay, at $28,446, is 9 percent less than the industry standard and well below a livable wage.

According to Sanders, "one out of three Amazon workers in Arizona and 2,400 in Pennsylvania and OH need food stamps in order to feed their families".

In addition to the public spat between Sanders and Amazon, the senator names other large USA corporations, including McDonalds, Walmart and American Airlines, as targets of his bill.

Amazon responded with an email to employees asking them to share positive stories about their work for the company. It covers companies with more than 500 employees. "Today, his net worth is $168 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. You got that? You might think that he had enough money to pay his workers a decent wage", Sanders says in a video posted on August 29.

"They have identified an absolutely valid target, which is companies that pay well below a living wage to employees who need precisely that", Bernstein said. In video interviews posted on Sanders' Facebook page, workers at several levels of Amazon described highly surveilled work environments, where bathroom breaks are closely monitored and there's extreme pressure to meet goals that may be unattainable. The company said in a statement that it has created 130,000 jobs in the past year.

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