Bernie Sanders' 'Stop BEZOS' bill targets worker pay at Amazon and Walmart

Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) introduced legislation on Wednesday that would impose a 100 percent "corporate welfare tax" on large companies equal to the amount of public assistance their employees receive. Anecdotes shared by current and former Amazon employees corroborate these findings. Meanwhile, Mr. Bezos continues to pay many thousands of his Amazon employees wages that are so low that they must rely on food stamps, Medicaid or public housing in order to survive. Amazon defended its record and claimed the Sanders presented "misleading and inaccurate" allegations regarding the company's working conditions and wages.

On Wednesday, the Vermont independent and 2020 presidential contender introduced a bill that proposes taxing big companies for the federal benefits their low-wage employees use to make ends meet.

The bill would tax companies for every dollar their employees receive in government benefits, such as food stamps.

"In other words, the taxpayers of this country would no longer be subsidizing the wealthiest people in this country who are paying their workers inadequate wages", Sanders said at a news conference announcing the bill, according to the The Washington Post. The median U.S. salary for full-time Amazon employees is $34,123, it says. While incentivizing companies to pay their employees higher wages, the measure would shift the burden from taxpayers back to the companies, he said. Rep. Ro Khanna, a California Democrat, introduced similar legislation in the House past year.

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders is taking his criticism of Jeff Bezos and Amazon to Congress. It is aimed at forcing companies to pay their workers a living wage.

The most troubling potential effect, in Bernstein's opinion, is that the Stop BEZOS Act could further the stigmatization of worker benefits.

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. Lynch didn't answer whether those temporary workers would qualify for the same benefits, but said temporary employees only account for a small percentage of the Amazon workforce on average.

The bill comes a week after Amazon responded to Sanders' constant barrage of income inequality attacks on the online retailer.

"Throughout the year on average, almost 90 percent of associates across the company's US fulfillment network are regular employees who receive full benefits", Lynch writes in an email. "For example, if a worker at a large employer receives $300 in food stamps, the employer would be taxed $300". "As I am sure you know, with my very strong support, the state legislature voted to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour".

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