“I spend less time thinking about [Amazon CEO and founder] Jeff Bezos and more time thinking about Amazon warehouse workers,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “I think about the outcomes I want for those folks. Whether Jeff Bezos is a billionaire or not is less of my concern than if your average Amazon worker is making a living wage, if they have guaranteed health care and if they can send their kids to college tuition-free."
“And if that’s the case,” she added, “and Jeff Bezos is still a billionaire — that’s one thing. But if his being a billionaire is predicated on paying people starvation wages and stripping them of their ability to access health care, and also if his ability to be a billionaire is predicated on the fact that his workers take food stamps so I’m paying for him to be a billionaire… I think it’s certainly a part of the equation when you have a very large workforce and you underpay every single person.”
In other words, AOC continues her hate of capitalism and promotion of the Marxist theme of the exploitation of workers, even though present-day workers in the capitalist United States have a standard of living that is among the highest in the history of man.
Amazon responded with a weak statement:
These allegations are absurd. Amazon associates receive industry-leading pay starting at $15 an hour — in fact, hourly associates at our Staten Island facility earn between $17.30 and $23 an hour, plus benefits which include comprehensive medical, dental and vision insurance. On top of these benefits, Amazon pre-pays 95% of continuing education tuition costs through its Career Choice program for associates who want to pursue in-demand careers.The company should have added:
What we pay workers is extremely competitive in every region where we employ workers, otherwise, workers wouldn't work for us.
It is simply the height of illogic for AOC to promote the idea that the 657,000 employees of Amazon are not aware of what their alternatives are and it is an insult for AOC to promote the idea that the marginal revenue product of American workers is so low that they are "starving." This type of perspective is nothing but capitalist hate fueled by a fundamental lack of understanding of basic economics and how an economy functions. If she really wanted to help low-level workers she should call for the immediate end of income taxes and payroll taxes for amnyone earning under $51, 999 per year. Those taxes are coercion enforced by the gun, something we would never practice at Amazon.
Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher of EconomicPolicyJournal.com and Target Liberty. He also writes EPJ Daily Alert and is author of The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bank and most recently Foundations of Private Property Society Theory: Anarchism for the Civilized Person Follow him on twitter:@wenzeleconomics and on LinkedIn. His youtube series is here: Robert Wenzel Talks Economics. More about Wenzel here.