There's no more subtlety in Bernie Sanders' row with Amazon, a company he's faulted for poor working conditions and pay. In a specific dig at CEO Jeff Bezos, the independent Vermont senator on Wednesday introduced the Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies (Stop BEZOS) Act, which would tax companies with at least 500 employees for the value of public assistance those workers receive, in an effort to save $150 billion in government spending per year. Bezos' wealth increases by $260 million per day, yet he "continues to pay thousands of his Amazon employees wages that are so low that they must rely on food stamps, Medicaid, or subsidized housing in order to survive," said Sanders, who also took aim at Walmart, Burger King, McDonald’s, and American Airlines, per CNN and Business Insider.
"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," continued Sanders, who's partnering with California Rep. Ro Khanna on the bill. It could prompt a quicker transition to an automated workforce or discourage companies from hiring people likely to need public assistance, though there's little chance of it passing, per Vox. Still, Amazon is responding to what it calls "inaccurate and misleading accusations" by Sanders based on data for part-time and temporary workers. "In fact, the median US salary for full-time Amazon employees is $34,123," the company writes in a blog post, adding "the average hourly wage for a full-time associate in our fulfillment centers ... is over $15/hour before overtime."