Yes you read that correctly. Amazon, in the last three months of 2017 alone, posted a $1.9 profit. Aside from this amazing amount of money, the CEO of the company, Jeff Bezos, is worth $123.8 BILLION. These figures are absolutely astounding and difficult, if not impossible for the average person to wrap their head around. Most people are worried about how to pay for their housing, food, and transportation to and from work. This one man has more than half of the money it would take to cure poverty in the world, this figure is estimated to be $175 billion.
I don’t begrudge people for being rich. I hope they enjoy it, to a healthy degree. Most people who have become wealthy have clearly worked hard, to at least some degree. However, when wealth gets to this level I think it has gotten a bit ridiculous. I’m all for a meritocracy, but I would love for someone to try to argue that Bezos worked over 3.98 million times harder than the average American.
According to the Census Bureau , the annual real median personal income was $31,099 in 2016. The net worth of your “average” American is around $80,000. However, his doesn’t paint the whole picture though because this is averaged out with the extravagantly rich in America, including Bezos. I am by no means saying that you shouldn’t be able to be rich, or even filthy rich, but I’m not sure that you should be able to be, solve US poverty rich.
Some people will argue against this. However, the most shocking thing is what I wrote as the title of this article. Amazon literally paid zero dollars in Federal Taxes in 2017. This is further compounded by the fact that they are actually receiving a negative tax rate. This means that the government is literally giving them money because they make money. A number of corporations in the US currently “pay” a negative income tax. So while most people are scraping by these companies are getting paid to exist.
I know a lot of conservatives complain about welfare queens. These are the real welfare queens. They dodge taxes, by putting their money in tax havens while being subsidized by the US government. You know what happens to you if you try to avoid paying your taxes? You go to jail. To make matters worse Trump’s tax plan cut the current corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%, while raising taxes on Americans who make $75,000 or less over the next 10 years.
I believe we need to do something about this. I think the corporate tax rate needs to be raised, not lowered. Corporations need to start paying their fair share of the tax burden. When it comes to personal income I have even been recently leaning towards the idea of taxing all income over $1 billion at 100%. While I’m still undecided at whether I am totally on board with this it is making more and more sense to me.
When individuals begin to make this sort of money it can literally threaten our democracy. When you have this much money you can begin to buy all the politicians you want. This is mostly due to the fact that we have legalized bribery in this country because of cases like ‘Citizens United’. If we were to get rid of money in politics I think I could at least begin to debate this tax rate, but with our current situation in America I think we need to take drastic action to save the last tinges of democracy that we are holding onto. It is already clear to many Americans that our government no longer represents us. They represent their corporate overlords. We need to take our democracy back and one of the first and most decisive steps to this is getting money out of politics and making the rich pay their fair share.