Economy

Bernie Sanders Proposes the ‘Stop BEZOS’ Act to Mitigate Wasted Federal Assistance

Bernie Sanders Proposes the ‘Stop BEZOS’ Act to Mitigate Wasted Federal Assistance

Bernie Sanders on Wednesday introduced a bill to "get billionaires off welfare".

Not so subtly, it was named by Sanders the Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies, or BEZOS, Act.

Senator Bernie Sanders has taken his public spat with Amazon.com Inc. Sanders; accusing the left-wing lawmaker of "misleading" the public over their working conditions and wages.

The proposed law would tax corporations with 500 or more employees at a rate of 100 percent for all of the federally funded welfare benefits that their employees receive.

According to a 2015 study by the University of California, Berkeley Labor Center, American taxpayers pay $152.8 billion each year on federal assistance to employees of large companies who pay workers low wages. Earlier this year, Amazon said in a government filing that its median salary is $28,446 - a figure, Amazon said, that include the compensation for part-time employees. That amounts to the kind of corporate welfare the Vermont senator says costs USA taxpayers billions of dollars a year. Rep. Ro Khanna, a California Democrat, introduced similar legislation in the House past year.

Denise Bennett, a former Amazon worker in Tennessee, said she made $11 an hour as a full-time employee but had to rely on SNAP benefits to make ends meet. 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. Amazon also noted that it offers health and disability insurance, as well as retirement savings plans, company stock, tuition payments and up to 20 weeks of paid leave.

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Amazon, which has more than 575,000 workers, is the country's second-largest private employer, behind Walmart.

For the goal of the bill, large employers are defined as those with more than 500 workers - including independent contractors and franchise workers.

"My concern is that there is already a political movement afoot to vilify public benefits and even though I know for a fact that the main sponsors of this bill - Sanders and Ro Khanna - don't feel that way, I worry that this idea unintentionally provides the hard right with another argument", Bernstein told Business Insider.

For example, if an employee receives $1,000 in federal assistance, the employer will be charged that amount as a tax.

"There was a point where I would find myself crying on my shift", Seth King, who served eight years in the Navy, says in a July video about his experiences in a fulfillment center.


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