Bernie Sanders has proposed a tax on companies where the executive director of a company pays more than 50 times the median worker as the Senator reaffirms his position as the new chairman of the Senate Budget Committee to draw attention to the inequality of wealth and income to push for higher wages.
“Right now, I happen to believe this country is on the way to becoming an oligarchy,” the Vermont progressive senator told the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the proposal.
Under the Tax Excessive CEO Pay Act, co-sponsored by Senator Barbara Lee, Walmart would pay up to $ 855 million more in taxes, and pharmacy retailer CVS would pay up to $ 450 million more in taxes, according to the Senators.
“The average CEO today earns 200 to 300 times the average wage of his employees,” she said on Tuesday in a post on Twitter. “These types of wage differentials exacerbate income inequality and wage stagnation.”
On Wednesday, the Senator will chair an Income Inequality Budget Committee hearing, with testimony from an Amazon employee at the company’s fulfillment center in Alabama, where more than 5,000 workers are voting to decide whether to unionize the history of the retail giant.
Mr Sanders called on Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to attend the hearing. He refused.
“Jeff, you are worth $ 182 billion – that’s a lot of money,” the senator told MSNBC on March 14. “What is your problem with enabling workers in Alabama to organize for better wages and better working conditions? You can afford to pay more for it. “
The senator told the newspaper that he would hold a hearing on corporate tax obligations later that month.
Last month he held another hearing: “Should Taxpayers Subsidize Poverty Wages in Large Profitable Firms?” – With executives from Costco and Walmart, as the Senator rallied support for raising the federal minimum wage to $ 15 an hour and condemned large corporations paying starvation wages that forced workers to rely on public support while companies are making record profits.
“The simple truth is that no one in America can live with dignity or live on $ 11 or $ 12 an hour,” he said at the hearing. “And I have to say that I have spoken to too many workers in this country who, with tears in their eyes, tell me about the struggles they have to have for their children with starvation wages.”
Mr Sanders’ efforts to raise the minimum wage as part of the coronavirus aid package of the Senate’s American rescue plan failed with a vote against of 42 to 58 votes. It took 60 votes to pass. All Senate Republicans, seven Democrats, and one independent Senator rejected the amendment.
The minimum wage set by the federal government has not increased since 2009. An hourly increase from $ 7.25 to $ 15 an hour would lift nearly 1 million Americans out of poverty and raise wages for millions of workers, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
The 2021 report said that a wage increase could result in 1.4 million job losses by 2025, but would also lift 900,000 people out of poverty and increase the incomes of 17 million people, or around 10 percent of the US workforce. Another 10 million workers making just over $ 15 an hour would also see pay increases.