The quiet part is “I am ripping you off and getting even richer thanks to taxpayers.”
One thing that enrages voters and motivates them to support disruptors like Donald Trump is when they see rampant cronyism in the lobbyist infested swampland of Washington, D.C. But the reality is the swamp is winning and cronyism is worse than ever in Joe Biden’s D.C.
Amazon ranks second on the Fortune 500 list of prosperous and successful companies. Amazon’s founder and former CEO, Jeff Bezos, is now worth over $200 billion and ranks as the wealthiest human on earth. And even though he admits that he is rich because of government subsidies, he still wants more.
The quiet part is that Bezos has admitted that the heavily taxpayer subsidized United States Postal Service (USPS) allowed Amazon to use a de facto taxpayer subsidy to build one of the largest corporations in the world.
Business Insider reported in July 2019 that, “Amazon would not be the $995 billion company it is today without the U.S. Postal Service, according to CEO Jeff Bezos.” Bezos said “the Postal Service gave Amazon a huge helping hand from the outset, as the online retailer did not have to invest in a delivery network.” And the only reason that worked is that U.S. taxpayers were absorbing the massive losses of the USPS; essentially we were the ones who made the billions in investments to set up a delivery network for Amazon to thrive.
President Trump was spot on when he described the USPS as Amazon’s “delivery boy” on Twitter. Bezos was a big beneficiary of this giant subsidy, yet it gets even worse: reports indicate that average taxpayers paid more than billionaire Bezos to the federal government in income taxes. Using leaked documents, ProPublica reported on June 8 that Bezos did not pay any federal income taxes in 2007 and 2011. Just so we’re clear: federal policies allowed Bezos not to pay a penny of federal income taxes while he was being subsidized to the tune of billions in (forced) taxpayer dollars. That should outrage every American taxpayer.
Most people know the USPS is a black hole for taxpayer money, but are uncertain at times as to how much is being lost every year. According to the postal service’s CEO, Louis DeJoy, the USPS lost $9.2 billion in 2020. When the richest man in the world was paying no taxes in 2011, the taxpayers footed the bill for $5.1 billion in Postal Service losses that year. Back in 2007 when, yet again, Jeff Bezos paid zero in income taxes, the USPS lost another $5.1 billion. As a matter of fact, the USPS experienced massive losses over a period of 14 years while Bezos used taxpayer-funded delivery of his products to have the best 14 years of any corporation in human history.
Now comes an Amazon-backed group called the Package Coalition to further bilk the taxpayer. Section 202 of the proposed “Postal Service Reform Act of 2021” would integrate package delivery and regular mail to make it so the Postal Service will be locked into package delivery forever. This means taxpayers will subsidize upgrades to Amazon’s postal deliveries in the form of new trucks and more capacity at postal hubs to handle more packages.
Ain’t crony corporatism grand?
In typical D.C. swamp fashion, the postal reform bill merely shifts the costs off of the USPS and onto the taxpayer by ending the postal pre-funding of retirement accounts for employees and pushing many employees into a government-funded health care system. The bill requires employees to enroll in Medicare when they are eligible as a way to shift costs from the USPS balance sheet and on to the taxpayer.
Why? Because it’s a really good way to hide losses when an entity does not have to pay its employees’ health care costs. The bill also hides costs with a provision that ends the pre-funding of retiree health benefits that may lead to an underfunded account by virtue of the fact that the USPS loses billions every year and will need to find savings to balance the USPS checkbook.
Just in case it wasn’t clear before, the ruling class in Washington, D.C. despises you and thinks you’re all useful idiots, essentially ATMs to fund all sorts of things that have nothing to do with advancing the public interest. And yet this behavior will continue until the American people demand wholesale changes in their government, including representation that will stop acting like this is a government of, by, and for the corporations.