Sen. Bernard Sanders, a frequent critic of Amazon, introduced a bill Wednesday that would tax employers if their workers required public assistance‚ naming it the Stop BEZOS Act.
The proposal by the socialist who came within an ace of being the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee would tax employers one dollar for every dollar that their employees take in food stamp, health-care and other welfare benefits.
“Our legislation gives large, profitable employers a choice: Pay workers a living wage or pay for the public assistance programs their low-wage employees are forced to depend upon,” Mr. Sanders said of the proposal, which he co-sponsored with Rep. Ro Khanna, California Democrat.
The bill, formally called the Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies Act, is aimed at all employers but has been especially inspired by Mr. Sanders’ criticism of Amazon and the wealth of its founder, Jeff Bezos.
For months, Mr. Sanders has accused Amazon of paying its warehouse workers less than industry averages, forcing some onto public assistance, and juxtaposing that with Mr. Bezos’ $168 billion fortune, the world’s largest.
Mr. Bezos is also the owner of the Washington Post, and ironically has come under criticism from the other end of the political spectrum. President Trump frequently attacks him and Amazon over the Post’s coverage and such other issues as postal rates.
Amazon did not comment to CNBC about the Sanders bill, but has called his claims about their workers being on public assistance “inaccurate and misleading.”
With almost 580,000 workers nationwide, Amazon is America’s second-largest private employer, trailing only Walmart.
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