Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is amping up his battle against large corporations like Amazon with a new bill set to be introduced on Sept. 5.
According to the senator’s office, the legislation would create a 100-percent tax on large employers equal to the amount of federal benefits that the employers’ low-wage workers receive.
For instance, if an Amazon employee gets $300 in food stamps, Amazon would be taxed $300.
“At a time of massive wealth and income inequality, the gap between the very rich and everyone else continues to grow wider,” Sanders said in a statement.
“[Amazon CEO] Jeff Bezos, the wealthiest person on earth, has become a symbol of that inequality and greed,” the statement continued. “While Mr. Bezos is worth $155 billion and while his wealth has increased $260 million every single day this year, he continues to pay many Amazon employees wages that are so low that they are forced to depend on taxpayer funded programs such as food stamps, Medicaid and subsidized housing just to get by.”
The announcement comes after the Vermont senator launched a petition calling on Bezos to pay workers a living wage. The petition has received 105,000 signatures since Tuesday.
The proposed legislation, however, does not specifically target Amazon.
“While Mr. Bezos is the most egregious example,” Sanders explained, “the Walton family of Walmart and many other billionaire-owned large and profitable companies also enrich themselves off taxpayer assistance while paying their workers poverty-level wages. That is why I am introducing legislation in September to demand that Mr. Bezos and other billionaires get off welfare and start paying their workers a living wage.”
According to The Washington Post, also owned by Bezos, records obtained by non-profit news outfit the New Food Economy indicate that thousands of Amazon employees use the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program.
Melanie Etches, a spokeswoman for the tech giant, told the Post that the numbers were “misleading” because they included individuals who only worked at the company for a short time or worked part-time.