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Biden criticizes Amazon for paying $0 in corporate taxes

Biden criticizes Amazon for paying $0 in corporate taxes

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenDefense lawyers for alleged Capitol rioters to get tours of U.S. Capitol Sasse to introduce legislation giving new hires signing bonuses after negative jobs report Three questions about Biden's conservation goals MORE on Thursday criticized online retail giant Amazon for paying nothing in corporate taxes last year, making him the latest presidential candidate to slam one of the most profitable companies over its effective tax rate of below zero.

"I have nothing against Amazon, but no company pulling in billions of dollars of profits should pay a lower tax rate than firefighters and teachers," Biden tweeted. "We need to reward work, not just wealth."

report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy earlier this year found that 60 Fortune 500 companies, including Amazon, avoided paying any federal income taxes in 2018.
 
Amazon, which had $11.2 billion in profits last year, has become a prime target for Democrats seeking to criticize corporate power, potentially anticompetitive practices and dangerous working conditions.
 
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The company has been accused of mistreating warehouse workers, and it's facing multiple lawsuits from former employees who said they were treated inhumanely at the facilities. Amazon has said it treats its workers fairly.

Biden jumped into the fray earlier this week, slamming the company at a campaign stop in Iowa on Tuesday.

"I've got nothing against Amazon," Biden said. "But they should pay a few taxes, you know what I mean? What happens? It's all you guys. No, I'm serious."

In a statement to The Hill, an Amazon spokesperson defended the company's record on taxes.

“Amazon pays all the taxes we are required to pay in the U.S. and every country where we operate, including paying $2.6 billion in corporate tax and reporting $3.4 billion in tax expense over the last three years," the spokesperson said in a statement. "The government has designed corporate tax law to encourage businesses of all sizes to invest in the U.S. economy to drive growth and create jobs."

The spokesperson added that the company invested more than $50 billion and created 45,000 full-time, full-benefit jobs last year.

Biden's remark that he has "nothing against Amazon" raised eyebrows, as it comes amid a furious backlash in Washington against the country's top tech giants. Lawmakers and advocates have accused Amazon of wielding its corporate power to the detriment of other companies and workers.

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenFree Speech Inc.: The Democratic Party finds a new but shaky faith in corporate free speech Debate over ICBMs: Will 'defund our defenses' be next? Manchin on collision course with Warren, Sanders MORE (D-Mass.) has called for the government to break up Amazon, criticizing the company for running an online retail store while also selling products on the platform.

"Amazon crushes small companies by copying the goods they sell on the Amazon Marketplace and then selling its own branded version," Warren wrote in a blog post laying out her plans to break up tech companies like Facebook and Google.

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersGOP is consumed by Trump conspiracy theories Manchin on collision course with Warren, Sanders Sanders on Cheney drama: GOP is an 'anti-democratic cult' MORE (I-Vt.) has taken Amazon to task over its working conditions, among other things.

The company has also drawn the ire of President TrumpDonald TrumpThe Memo: The Obamas unbound, on race Iran says onus is on US to rejoin nuclear deal on third anniversary of withdrawal Assaults on Roe v Wade increasing MORE, who has insulted CEO Jeff BezosJeffrey (Jeff) Preston BezosHillicon Valley: Trump's Facebook ban to stay in place, board rules | Facebook board's Trump decision pleases no one | Republicans float support for antitrust reform Republicans urge probe into Amazon government cloud-computing bid: report SpaceX's Elon Musk has become the coolest capitalist of them all MORE, who also owns The Washington Post. The president has accused the Post of being biased against him.

Earlier this week, Trump accused Amazon of colluding with Democrats to "discriminate" against him.

Updated at 12:35 p.m.