Jeff Bezos donates to charity but shouldn’t be praised


Kernel Opinion SIG

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon and the richest man on Earth, announced Thursday that he would invest $2 billion in eradicating homelessness and in preschool programs in underserved communities.

Is it nice that Bezos is giving back to various communities? Sure. But is it a move that should be applauded? No.

Workers at Amazon warehouses around the world complain about short lunch breaks, constant video surveillance and a harsh penalty system that gives you a “point” for taking too long in the bathroom, leading some employees to even pee in bottles or trash cans. Bezos seems to value profits more than giving his employees basic dignity.

The median pay for Amazon workers is a little over $28,000, but half of the company’s employees make less than that. Jeff Bezos is a billionaire. That’s one million dollars times one thousand. A very, very large number to comprehend. And Bezos is worth $163 billion. While hoarding his billions, thousands of his employees are on food stamps.

If Bezos wishes to “give back,” how about he starts off with improving working conditions for his employees? These people are the real reason he is even able to be a billionaire. How about raising your employees wages? What is he afraid of? Reducing his net worth by a few billion will definitely not hurt him.

But the worst part of all of this is that in order for America’s communities to be fixed, we have to wait on the charitable whims of a billionaire. If the corporate tax rate and the tax rate on the 1 percent were raised, the government would have enough money to reduce homelessness and invest in programs for young children. The fact that we have to wait around for some rich person to help is unacceptable, especially when living in a first world country like America.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has actually introduced legislation targeting Amazon in particular, appropriately named the “BEZOS Act.” This act would target companies that employ more than 500 people, but do not appropriately pay their employees. Essentially, every dollar their employees use of federal assistance would be paid in taxes by that company.

Applaud Bezos when he pays his fair share, which is much larger than $2 billion.