Amazon's greed has got to end

| 27th August 2018

An Amazon warehouse

Flickr
Jeff Bezos' wealth increased by $33 billion in the first four months of 2018. In turn, Amazon must - at the very least - pay its workers a living wage and improve warehouse working conditions, argues BERNIE SANDERS

In my view, a nation cannot survive morally or economically when so few have so much and so many have so little.

I want to ask you to clear your mind for a moment and count to 10.

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In those 10 seconds, Jeff Bezos, the owner and founder of Amazon, made more money than the median employee of Amazon makes in an entire year. An entire year. Think about that.

Who pays?

Think about how hard that family member has to work for an entire year, the days she or he goes into work sick, or has a sick child, or struggles to buy school supplies or Christmas presents, to make what one man makes in 10 seconds.

According to Time magazine, from 1 January through 1 May of this 2018, Jeff Bezos saw his wealth increase by $275 million every single day for a total increase in wealth of $33 billion in a four-month period.

Meanwhile, thousands of Amazon employees are forced to rely on food stamps, Medicaid and public housing because their wages are too low. And guess who pays for that? You do.

Frankly, I don't believe that ordinary Americans should be subsidizing the wealthiest person in the world because he pays his employees inadequate wages.

Absurd expense

But it gets remarkably more ridiculous: Jeff Bezos has so much money that he says the only way he could possibly spend it all is on space travel.

Space travel. Have you ever heard of such a thing? It is absolutely absurd.

Well here is a radical idea: Instead of attempting to explore Mars or go to the moon, how about Jeff Bezos pays his workers a living wage? How about he improves the working conditions at Amazon warehouses across the country so people stop dying on the job? He can no doubt do that and have billions of dollars left over to spend on anything he wants.

So today, whether or not you use Amazon, I want to ask the Americans among you to join me in sending a message to Jeff Bezos.

Now, I have never understood how someone could have hundreds of billions of dollars and feel the desperate need for even more. I would think that, with the amount of money he has, Jeff Bezos might just be able to get by.

Policy failures

I think there is something weird and wrong with people who have that much and are willing to step over working people, many with families and young children, in order to get more and more.

But this is not just about the greed of one man. These are policy failures as well.

Last year, Amazon made $5.6 billion in profits and did not pay one penny in federal income taxes. The Trump tax cuts rewarded Amazon with almost $1 billion more. And city after city is offering additional tax breaks, mostly in secret, for the right to host Amazon’s second corporate headquarters.

In my view, a nation cannot survive morally or economically when so few have so much and so many have so little. Millions of people across this country struggle to put bread on the table and are one paycheck away from economic devastation, and the wealthiest people in this country have never had it so good.

It has got to stop.

Get involved

But that starts with all of us making our voices heard and being clear — loudly and directly — that this kind of greed is intolerable, and it must end. And that starts with you.

Sign my petition to Jeff Bezos: It is long past time you start to pay your workers a living wage and improve working conditions at Amazon warehouses all across the country. He needs to know that you are aware of his company’s greed, which seems to have no end.

We must ask ourselves one fundamental question, and that is whether or not this is the kind of country and economic culture we are comfortable with. I am not. And I don’t believe you are either. Thank you for making your voice heard.

This Author

Bernie Sanders is an American politician who has served as junior United States Senator from Vermont since 2007. In 2016 he was a contender for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States of America. 

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