Bernie Sanders Wants Jeff Bezos To Pay For The Welfare State — What Could Go Wrong?
Bernie Sanders, who never held a steady job until he started getting paid by taxpayers, thinks Amazon should pay its workers more. And if it doesn’t, he wants to tax Amazon for each “underpaid” employee, to finance government benefits. Even Bernie’s friends think he’s off the rails.
Sanders, never one for subtlety, calls his new bill the “Stop BEZOS Act.” It would impose a tax on each worker employed by any company that hires more than 500 people. The tax would cover 100% of the cost of whatever federal benefits those workers or their families might also be getting.
The claim made by Sanders and other leftists is that low wages paid by big companies like Amazon mean that plenty of its employees must rely on food stamps, Medicaid, and the like, to make ends meet. In effect, Sanders says, taxpayers are subsidizing low wages paid by Amazon, Walmart, McDonalds, and the like. So why not recoup those government costs directly from these skinflint companies?
“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’s what a rigged economy is about,” Sanders says.
But Sanders’ plan is so woefully misguided that even liberals say it’s a bad idea.
First, the very premise of his bill is flawed. Sanders claims that “low wages cost taxpayers $152.8 billion per year” because these workers rely on federal programs.
The figure comes from the UC Berkeley Labor Center. But to arrive at that figure, the researchers there included in its definition of “working families” those putting in as little as 10 hours a week, 27 weeks of the year. It’s hardly surprising that some of these part-time, transient workers rely on government benefits, but that’s not Amazon’s fault.