Bernie Sanders Calls Jeff Bezos' Wealth 'Morally Obscene' As Amazon CEO Steps Down

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Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) described Amazon founder Jeff Bezos‘ wealth as “obscene” and called for taxes on billionaires as Bezos left his role as company CEO.

© MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images Amazon founder Jeff Bezos addresses the audience during a keynote session at the Amazon Re:MARS conference on robotics and artificial intelligence at the Aria Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada on June 6, 2019. Bezos stepped down as CEO of Amazon on Monday.

Sanders took to Twitter on Monday to highlight how much Bezos earns and contrasted it with the median wage in the U.S. He has repeatedly called for billionaires to pay more in tax.

Bezos, who founded online retail giant Amazon in 1994, stepped down as CEO on Monday after 27 years in the role, though he will remain with the company as executive chairman.

Sanders tweeted: “Jeff Bezos makes some $2,537 every second of the day.”

“Got that? That means Jeff Bezos — the richest guy on the face of planet — makes nearly 3x more in one second than the median worker in this country makes in an entire week. That is morally obscene. Tax the billionaires,” the senator said.

Bezos has a net worth of over $200 billion—an increase of 12,425 percent since his first appearance on the Forbes 400 list of richest Americans in 1998. His net worth at the time was $1.6 billion.

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His wealth also rose over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Between October 2019 and October 2020, Bezos’ fortune =increased by $80 billion.

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Median weekly earnings in the U.S. were $989 per week in the first quarter of 2021. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on April 23 that there were 112.1 million full-time wage and salary workers in the nation.

Sanders’ latest criticism comes as Bezos hands off to longtime deputy Andy Jassy. The Amazon founder will now reportedly focus on other projects, such as his space exploration company Blue Origin and philanthropic work.

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) also criticized Bezos’ wealth on June 18 and highlighted the fact that as CEO he earned a salary roughly equivalent to the average Massachusetts public school teacher.

“Jeff Bezos is the second-richest person in the world. His net worth is nearly $195 billion dollars. But his salary is about the same as the average public school teacher in Massachusetts: $80,000,” Warren said.

Bezos drew a base salary of $81,840 in 2019. This was the same salary he’d earned as CEO in 1998 and represented about double the median annual income in the U.S. The average salary for a teacher in Massachusetts was $79,000 in 2018.

However, Bezos’ wealth comes from his shareholding in Amazon. He retains about a 10 percent stake in the company following his 2019 divorce from Mackenzie Scott and his decision to sell $6.7 billion in stock earlier this year.

Newsweek has asked Senator Bernie Sanders and Amazon for comment.

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