Ro Khanna teams with Bernie Sanders to end corporate welfare

Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Ro Khanna believe some of the most successful corporations in America, like Amazon and Walmart should be taxed on the amount of federal assistance their low-wage workers need to access in order to survive.

“I think it is fair to say that the American people are tired of having to subsidize the wealthiest people in this country who are paying wages that are so low that people can’t get by,” said Sanders at a press conference with Khanna Wednesday to introduce the legislation.

Specifically, the bill would place a 100 percent tax on corporations with 500 or more employees that is equal to the amount of federal benefits, such as food stamps, Medicaid, and subsidized housing, that is received by its low wage employees.

But the bill also appears to be a populist screed against Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, and Walmart’s Walton family, which holds a combined wealth of $170 billion.

Bezos is also worth $168 billion, Sanders noted, but pays wages to thousands of his employees so low that they rely on food stamps, medicaid, subsidized housing. Taxpayers spend $6 billion a year on public assistance for Walmart workers across the country, he added.

“This is not a radical idea,” said Khanna, while referencing the popularity of Henry Ford’s decision to double hourly wages for his employees more than 100 years ago from $2.50 to $5.

“There is a sense in America that if you work hard and if you happen to pick a company that does well, you should do well. That is the basic American promise,” said Khanna.

“If you bag groceries, you should be able to buy groceries. If you serve a meal at a restaurant, every now and then you should be able to buy a meal. If you put together the packages that land on the doorstep of my wife and I, you should be able to go online and shop for those packages.”

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3 replies

  1. Watch out McDonalds, Amazon, Macys, Sears, Burger King, and all other large companies that hire folks at less than $25 an hour. This should also apply to the state and NGO’s that hire folks that are getting benefits.

    This could be a really exciting piece of legislation, if it gets pushed through the House and the Senate.

    This was proposed earlier by Ro Khanna, along with Barbara Lee, Jamie Raskin, and Eleanor Holmes-Norton when it was called the Corporate Responsibility and Taxpayer Protection Act.

    If full time, part time or Independent Contractor Employees in companies of more than 500 employees get State and Federal Aid for Food Stamps, School Lunch, Breakfast, Medicaid, or Housing Assistance then the company should have to match 100% of those costs, freeing the state and federal government from that funding and that taxation.

    Not so sure this will ever happen, but it sounds like a good idea to me. it should also be expanded to include Students and anyone else auditing a job like an apprentice or a candy striper.


  2. He’s not a true progressive, just jumping on the band wagon


  3. I generally agree, but they go too far. I would leave out subsidized housing and Medicare costs.

    But it should not be done as a tax on income.

    I have long ranted that Walmart is being subsidized by the taxpayers of every town in which they operate.

    I HATE Walmart. They pay too low, and for decades, forced their suppliers to move their manufacturing to Mexico and China, ripping jobs out of the U.S….while, at the same time, bankrupting local stores in small towns. Evil, evil people.

    I propose it should be a direct assessment. For each employee receiving benefits, or deemed to get benefits due to low income (otherwise the math and the paperwork will get to hard for mortal humans to process), companies like Walmart should be assessed a fee, by each person effected. Not a general income tax.

    On this, it is an issue of basic human fairness, and I support, with some adjustments mentioned above, their proposal.

    I’m a Rand Paul type of Libertarian. We dislike “corporatism” because it hurts the middle-class and reduces individual liberty. Again, I have long not shopped at Walmart, and encourage others to do the same.

    This is generally, a good idea.


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