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Article

5 Sep 2018

Author:
Abha Bhattarai, The Washington Post

Bernie Sanders introduces legislation in the US Senate that would require large employers to pay the govt. for the federal assistance received by its workers

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"Bernie Sanders introduces 'Stop Bezos Act' in the Senate," 5 September 2018

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Wednesday introduced a Senate bill — the "Stop BEZOS Act" — that would require large employers such as Amazon.com and Walmart to pay the government for food stamps, public housing, Medicaid and other federal assistance received by their workers. The bill's name is a dig at Amazon chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos and stands for “Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies Act.” It would establish a 100 percent tax on government benefits received by workers at companies with at least 500 employees. "In other words, the taxpayers of this country would no longer be subsidizing the wealthiest people in this country who are paying their workers inadequate wages," Sanders said... The proposed legislation comes one day after Amazon reached $1 trillion in market cap, a milestone that reinforces its position as one of the world's wealthiest companies... Amazon has fired back against Sanders and his claims that thousands of Amazon employees rely on federal benefits to make ends meet. Those figures are “inaccurate and misleading,” the company said last week, because they include temporary workers as well as those who choose to work part time... But some economists said they worried such measures may backfire by creating incentives for companies to avoid hiring workers who may be likely to collect federal benefits. "I'm afraid this is a solution that vilifies benefit recipients," said Jared Bernstein, senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and former economic adviser to Vice President Joseph Biden. "It's not hard to imagine that employers would be wary of hiring someone who they think -- rightly or wrongly -- would invoke the tax."

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