Sanders introduces Stop BEZOS Act to charge companies for welfare programs

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is escalating his feud with Amazon and its founder, Jeff Bezos, introducing a new bill that would charge big companies for the federal welfare programs that support their low-wage workers.
Sanders introduced the bill on Wednesday that they named the Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies Act, or Stop BEZOS Act.
{mosads}“At a time of massive income and wealth inequality, when the 3 wealthiest people in America own more wealth than the bottom 50 percent and when 52 percent of all new income goes to the top one percent, the American people are tired of subsidizing multi-billionaires who own some of the largest and most profitable corporations in America,” Sanders said in a statement.
Sanders cited a report by the nonprofit New Food Economy suggesting that a third of Amazon employees in Arizona — and thousands in other states — rely on food stamps.
Amazon, the senator said, paid half its workforce just $28,500 a year, or $13.67 an hour. Many other workers, he added, were hired through subcontractors, who might pay less.
“In other words, the wealthiest person in the world is advertising jobs that pay workers wages that are so low that they have to go on public assistance and be subsidized by the middle class of this country. That’s wrong. That has got to change,” he said.
Amazon disputed those statistics in an August blog post responding to earlier accusations from Sanders.

“Senator Sanders continues to spread misleading statements about pay and benefits,” the company wrote, noting that many of the food assistance recipients were employees who only worked for Amazon briefly or chose to work part-time

“We encourage anyone to compare our pay and benefits to other retailers,” the company wrote.

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), whose Bay Area district includes many high-tech companies and employees, introduced a companion bill in the House titled the Corporate Responsibility and Taxpayer Protection Act. Khanna sounded a similar note to Sanders, who also called out fast food chains such as Burger King for low wages.
“Taxpayers shouldn’t be subsidizing multi-trillion corporations with their wages,” he said. “If you bag groceries, you should be able to buy groceries.”
The legislation would require companies with more than 500 employees to pay the government back for the welfare programs that support their low-wage employees, such as food stamps, Medicaid and housing subsidies. 
The government spends more than $150 billion a year on programs that help low-wage workers, Sanders said, citing a University of California study.
The feud between Sanders and Amazon escalated last week, with the e-commerce behemoth pushing back after the senator said he wanted a special tax on Amazon and other big companies whose employees collect food stamp benefits.
The online retail giant maintained that it offers competitive pay and benefits to workers and said it had spoken with Sanders about possibly visiting one of its distribution centers.
Tags Bernie Sanders Ro Khanna

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