…Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and owner of the Washington Post, has accumulated a fortune worth $150 billion. That is the biggest nominal amount in modern history, and extraordinary any way you slice it. Bezos is the world’s lone hectobillionaire. He is worth what the average American family is, nearly two million times over.

In contrast, half of Amazon’s domestic employees make less than $28,446 a year, per the company’s legal filings. Some workers have complained of getting timed six-minute bathroom breaks. Warehouse workers need to pick goods and pack boxes at closely monitored speeds, handling up to 1,000 items and walking as many as 15 miles per shift. Contractors have repeatedly complained of wage-and-hour violations and argued that the company retaliates against whistleblowers. An Amazon temp died on the floor just a few years ago.

Moreover, Amazon itself paid no federal corporate income taxes last year, despite making billions of dollars in profits. It has fought tooth-and-nail against state and local taxes, and has successfully cajoled cities into promising it billions and billions and billions in write-offs and investment incentives in exchange for placing jobs there.

One in three Amazon employees in the state of Arizona is reportedly on food stamps.

A recent study by The Economist found that Amazon opening a fulfillment center in a given community actually depresses warehouse wages: In counties without an Amazon center, warehouse workers earn an average of $45,000 a year, versus $41,000 a year in counties with an Amazon center. The data also show that in the two-and-a-half years after Amazon opens a new fulfillment center, local warehouse wages fall by 3 percent.

The result of these decades of trends and policy choices is that Jeff Bezos has accumulated a $150 billion fortune while the average American family is poorer than it was when the Great Recession hit.


40 thoughts on “…Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and owner of the Washington Post, has accumulated a fortune worth $150 billion….

  1. I think that 40K number is about average salary for all jobs in an area. You get paid less as a gas station attendant because an Amazon warehouse is in your neighborhood kinda thing, Clyde Rhoer.

  2. Christopher Weeks Oxfam recently did math (I think I posted it), that just the 2016 gains of the world’s 1% could eliminate world poverty.

    Just. The. Gains. They’d all still be multi-billionaires.

    Beign that rich should be a crime. Period.