Last year Amazon made $11.2 billion in profits, yet they paid zero dollars in federal income tax. It’s flabbergasting to think that their minimum wage workers, people making $15 an hour (or about $30k a year) are paying more in taxes than their multibillion dollar employer.
Even if you’re the most stridently pro-Big Business Conservative, you have to admit this is wrong. This is not how the system should work. Our government shouldn’t be giving welfare to gajillion dollar corporations while more and more workers are struggling to get by. Something is fundamentally broken.
The fact that we have individual people that are billionaires is further proof that something is wrong. Billionaires are a glitch in the system, not the ultimate reward, and they’ve continued to manipulate that system to the detriment of everyone else. In 2018 the 400 richest families in America paid a lower effective tax than the bottom 50 percent of U.S. households.
If the success of a society is judged by how its poorest are treated, then we are failing miserably. If we lived in a country where the needs of all its members were actually put first, there would be no billionaires, and the wealthy certainly wouldn’t get tax breaks simply for being rich. The resources accumulated and hoarded by those at the top would be redistributed to uplift those at the bottom.
Unfortunately, even the idea of philanthropy is majorly flawed. Yes, it’s wonderful that rich people use their money to further important causes. But they’re still not shouldering the same portion of the burden as they would be if they actually paid their fair share of taxes. If they did, the money could be used collectively to tackle more than just their pet issue. Just imagine if every American got to decide where our tax dollars went to. There would be so many vitally important parts of our country that would be completely underfunded.
That’s essentially what the super rich are doing: picking and choosing where their money goes, while not even contributing as much as they should.
As both Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have pointed out, if these people, and these corporations, paid reasonable tax rates, the entirety of our society would be raised up by having universal healthcare, education, and housing.
And this brings me to my main point. As Californians, we have a huge say in who becomes the Democratic nominee. Since ours is the most populous state, and since our March 3 primary is early in the 2020 election cycle, we can have a massive influence in who the candidate is. That’s why it’s imperative that you vote for a truly progressive candidate like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren.
Both these candidates have not only committed to upending the current heinous system, they’ve also put out plans explaining how they intend to do so. While Bernie Sanders is my ideal candidate, I’d be more than happy with Warren as well.
The issue with candidates like Joe Biden or Pete Buttigieg (who along with Sanders and Warren are currently the frontrunners) is that, even if they do beat Trump, not much is going to change. Yes, we’ll feel good about deposing a monster, but none of these middle of the road candidates seem committed to changing the circumstances that helped get Trump elected in the first place. A total of 58 percent of Americans have less than $1,000 worth of savings. The next Democratic candidate needs to be willing to make giant strides towards fixing this financial insecurity or else they will hand over the White House to whatever fear mongering the ghouls of the GOP scare up next.
Neither Buttigieg and Biden are willing to do this. Both have received major cash infusions from the pharmaceutical, health insurance, and hospital industries. So it’s easy to connect the dots on why they’ve been so adamantly against Medicare for All. Healthcare costs are one of the biggest factors keeping Americans financially unstable. Half a million people will go bankrupt this year because of them.
How can we expect the president of our country to stand up to corporations and create a more equitable society when the people funding their campaign are the same ones profiting off the current broken system?
Just last week Bernie Sanders unveiled an ambitious plan to force America’s largest corporations to share profits and power with workers. Similarly, Elizabeth Warren has major plans to take on billionaires and make them pay their fair share of taxes. Neither of these candidates is accepting corporate money, because they intend on working for the American People, not for greedy corporations.
So on March 3, help our country achieve its true potential. Nominate a candidate who will work for all of us, not just the rich people who fund their campaigns.
Stuart Schuffman is a travel writer, TV host and poet. Follow him at BrokeAssStuart.com and join his mailing list at http://bit.ly/BrokeAssList. His column appears every other Thursday. He is a guest columnist and his point of view is not necessarily that of The Examiner.