Elizabeth Warren Should Consider Jumping This Nerd

Elizabeth Warren Should Consider Jumping This Nerd
Image:Michael Reynolds/Thierry Monasse (Getty Images)

Jay Carney, an exemplar of the Obama-administration-to-corporate-shill-pipeline, is joining the chorus of bootlickers defending Amazon against its critics. But instead of biting back at miscellaneous Twitter users, the former Obama White House Press Secretary and current Amazon senior vice president is calling out Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, accusing them of spreading misinformation.

On Wednesday, Warren called out Amazon as a corporation that doesn’t pay federal corporate income taxes.

“Some of the biggest, most profitable corporations in America (I’m looking at you, Amazon) have paid $0 in federal corporate income taxes,” Warren tweeted. “I’ve pushed for a tax on the book profits of these giant corporations, and the Biden-Harris #AmericanJobsPlan includes a version of this.”

Carney suggested Warren has an ulterior motive up her sleeve.

“With great respect, Senator @ewarren, this isn’t correct about Amazon’s tax payments,” Carney replied. “But changing the law is certainly more productive than faulting companies for following it-and far better than threatening to break up American companies so they can’t criticize elected leaders.”

Carney was snidely referring to Warren’s desire to break up big tech, a platform she ran on during her 2020 presidential run and continues to promote. Warren believes that big tech, like Amazon, as well as Facebook and Google, have quickly monopolized, with mergers crushing small businesses and relegating control of the internet as we know it to a handful of powerful corporations.

Apparently, mitigating the ills that big tech has perpetuated is the same as silencing the Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerbergs of the world.

Aside from being dramatic, Carney is also grasping at straws. In 2020, Amazon paid federal income taxes for the first time since 2016, but the total was equivalent to a puny one percent of their overall pre-tax income.

From CNBC, emphasis ours:

After two straight years of paying $0 in U.S. federal income tax, Amazon was on the hook for a $162 million bill in 2019, the company said in an SEC filing on Thursday.
Of course, $162 million is still just a fraction of the $13.9 billion in pre-tax income Amazon reported for 2019 — roughly 1.2%, in fact. The federal corporate tax rate is 21%, but as in the past, Amazon likely employed various tax credits and deductions to reduce its federal tax bill. Amazon also reported $280.5 billion in total revenue in 2019.

So Amazon took flagrant advantage of the tax code, paid some chump change in federal taxes one time in the last five years, and its sycophants expect critics to shut up about it now. This technicality doesn’t negate Warren’s point, and Carney looks just as pathetic as the Twitter army of handpicked Amazon ambassadors that CEO Bezos has hired to defend him on main.

Carney’s response to Warren comes one day after he turned his attention to Sen. Sanders. On Tuesday Sanders tweeted a video about poor work conditions in Amazon factories. He also noted his support for the employees at an Amazon facility in Bessemer, Alabama, who participated in a union election vote on Monday, the votes of which are still being tabulated.

“Amazon workers in Alabama are sick and tired of being treated like robots,” Sanders wrote. “They are standing up and fighting back, and I am proud to support them.”

“With all due respect, Senator @BernieSanders, you’re wrong on this,” Carney replied. “We treat our employees with dignity and respect. We offer a $15 minimum wage, health care from day one, and a safe, inclusive workplace.”

Carney appears to operate under the belief that a $15 minimum wage goes very far in 2021 (it doesn’t), but also that this wage absolves Amazon of its cruel workplace practices and meager benefits. Perhaps Carney should run these bare-minimum work perks by their countless employees who still depend on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicaid. They’re in great company with employees of Walmart and McDonalds, other multi-billion dollar corporations who have no respect for the working-class people who make their businesses run every day.

Carney also invited Sanders to tour an Amazon factory, and suggested that he and his colleagues fight to raise the federal minimum wage to $15. Ah, yes, show Sanders the pee bottles up close.

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