Former Vice President Joe Biden has renewed his criticism of e-commerce giant Amazon, once again turning the company into a political football that has been kicked around by presidential candidates on various issues, including taxes and delivery charges.
On Friday, Biden was asked in a CNBC interview on whether the company should be broken up to keep it from becoming too powerful and monopolistic, as suggested by former presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
“I think Amazon should start paying their taxes, OK?” said Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president. “I don’t think any company, I don’t give a damn how big they are, Lord Almighty, should absolutely be in the position where they pay no tax and make billions and billions and billions of dollars, number one.”
Biden then doubled down on his remarks on Twitter, saying, “I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: No company pulling in billions of dollars in profits should pay a lower tax rate than firefighters and teachers. It’s time for Amazon to pay its fair share.”
Amazon’s position is that it pays what it owes according to the tax code.
A recent analysis by the liberal-leaning Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy said that, despite reporting $29 billion of U.S. income over the last three years, the company has reported a total of zero current federal income taxes over the same period.
“In fact, the company’s three-year federal tax total was negative – a rebate of $102 million!” the institute wrote.
On Tuesday, the former vice president, 77, participated in a Yahoo News virtual town hall, joined by chef José Andrés to discuss issues of food insecurity and other topics related to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.Speaking about potential meat shortages and increased prices on products in grocery stores across the country, Biden said ensuring employee safety at slaughterhouses and processing plants is the only way to proceed. He said even if more regulations reduce output, the workers’ wellbeing should be considered first and foremost.“Whether it’s cattle, whether it’s beef, whether it’s pigs, whether it’s chicken, they’re moving down that line faster and faster and faster to increase the profit rate,” said Biden. “People are getting sicker; people are getting hurt. The very thing we should be doing now is making sure these people are protected, that they have space six-feet apart, that they have shields around them, slow the process up. Make sure they have the protective gear, make sure they are being taken care of.”
He added: “Absolutely positively, no worker’s life is worth me getting a cheaper hamburger. No worker’s life is worth that. That’s what the hell’s happened here.”
“We don’t treat the workers well at all across the board,” Biden said. “… We have obligations to workers; we have obligations to the community.”
The ex-Bernie Sanders staffers behind a new pro-Joe Biden super PAC have a pitch for would-be funders: They can deliver the voters that the former vice president can’t, and they’ll follow the digital-first “Bernie strategy” to do it.
That’s the takeaway from a presentation that America’s Promise, a group founded last month, prepared for potential donors. The slide show, reviewed by Mother Jones, makes the case that a lack of enthusiasm for Biden among key parts of the Sanders coalition—young people, Latinos, the left—could hand Trump the election unless Democratic funders support a major outreach effort. And despite Sanders’ famous distaste for the unlimited election spending that Citizens United made possible, the new organization is looking to spend big. The presentation includes sample price tags for its efforts in the crucial swing states of Arizona, Wisconsin, and Michigan: $7.8 million, $4.7 million, and $7.5 million, respectively.
The New York Times first reported the formation of the super PAC last month. Its stated purpose is to persuade Sanders’ grassroots supporters to back Biden and Democratic Senate candidates while building on the Sanders campaign’s efforts to pursue progressive policies. The group’s staff includes some of the biggest names from the Sanders’ 2020 run, including longtime Sanders aide Jeff Weaver; Chuck Rocha, who coordinated the campaign’s Latino outreach; and Tim Tagaris, who oversaw digital fundraising.
These strategists have traded the Sanders-style idealism for the bland reality of a pitch deck, one that lays out how the “Bernie strategy,” as the deck calls it, can translate to boosting Biden. To reach younger voters, for example, America’s Promise proposes making Biden “stylistically accessible” to them, emphasizing Sanders’ endorsement of the former vice president, and highlighting Biden’s “support for Sanders’ agenda”—such as Biden’s adoption of portions of Sanders’ plan to cancel student debt.
To reach Latino voters, the key is “starting early,” the pitch says, noting private polling from the Sanders campaign that showed the Vermont senator 5 points behind Biden six months before the Nevada caucuses—a contest Sanders ultimately won, thanks in large part to the massive support he received from Latinos. America’s Promise proposes to emphasize Biden’s “progressive kitchen-table agenda”—including support for a $15-per-hour minimum wage, universal health care, and free college tuition—in its outreach to Latinos.
When it comes to “very liberal Democrats,” the super PAC would play up Biden’s ability to name progressive Supreme Court justices and cabinet members who could undo the harm that Trump’s appointees have caused—a major source of motivation for liberals.
To drive home these messages, the group intends to devote the heftiest slice of its cash to digital advertising, with smaller but substantial allocations for print and television ads, as well.
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