The world’s richest man who leads mega-powerful Amazon publicly supports Joe Biden’s plan to raise taxes on corporations but that support comes after the tax-avoiding company was called out by name by the president just days ago.
“We support the Biden Administration's focus on making bold investments in American infrastructure,” Jeff Bezos, the billionaire owner of Amazon, said in a statement backing Biden’s plan to raise corporate tax rates from 21% to 28%.
Biden has announced he plans to raise the corporate tax is to pay for investment in "infrastructure,” a term that typically means improving roads and bridge but, in reality, is allocating just 6% to those projects out of a whopping $2 trillion price tag.
It was just two week ago, when Biden announced his American Jobs plan on “infrastructure,” that he cited a 2019 analysis that found numerous Fortune 500 companies did not pay federal taxes during the previous year, GeekWire, a technology website, reported March 31.
In that speech, the president named only one company as an example: Amazon.
According to CNBC, Amazon posted income of $11 billion in 2018 but paid zero dollars federal taxes in 2019 and, in fact, received a federal tax refund of $129 million that year. The previous year, in 2017, Amazon received a $137 million refund.
In 2020, Amazon was hit with a $162 million tax bill for 2019, for revenue that topped $280 billion, but the company likely used tax credits and loop holes to reduce its bill, CNBC said.
Speaking on behalf of Amazon last week, Bezos stated the corporation is “supportive of a rise in the corporate tax rate.”
Merrill Matthews of the Institute for Policy Innovation tells One News Now that people who are applauding Bezos for his statement should know how a company such as Amazon views such proposals.
"Large companies that dominate certain areas,” he says, “often like more regulations and higher taxes because that may keep their competitors from being able to gain a foothold against them.”
The Wall Street Journal explained that scenario in a Dec. 2020 story that began with the headline, “How Amazon Wins: By Steamrolling Rivals and Partners.”
The investigative story describes how Amazon uses cut-throat tactics to beat competitors, such as cutting its price of diapers so low that it was losing money on online purchases. But the underhanded tactic squashed its competitor, Diapers.com, which eventually sold out to Amazon.
Yet another Amazon tactic, the story explained, was to demand online sellers provide manufacturing information under the guise of authenticating the seller as a legitimate business. With that information in hand, Amazon would then approach the manufacturer and partner with them to sell a competing product.
Bezos, meanwhile, is currently the richest person on the planet with an estimated wealth of $181.6 billion.
“One of the things you always have to worry about is those companies that are very successful colluding with politicians, or supporting things that increase taxes or costs on them,” Matthews warns, “because they're able to afford it and keep the competition down, allowing them to charge higher prices than they might have been able to do otherwise."