business news in context, analysis with attitude

There is an excellent piece in the New Republic that starts as follows:

“As Amazon builds up its distribution network, it’s hit on a trick long practiced by the likes of Walmart: using the federal government to help pay its workers. A new study by Policy Matters Ohio found that more than 700 Amazon employees receive food stamps, or more than 10 percent of the tech giant’s 6,000-strong workforce in the state. Some of those recipients may be part-time help, but the fact that they need federal aid to survive suggests that they would be happy to work more. ‘Why is this giant, successful company offering such limited pay and hours of work that many of its workers need help buying food?’ asked Zach Schiller, research director at Policy Matters.

“Amazon ranks nineteenth among Ohio businesses in number of employees on food stamps, behind Walmart, McDonald’s, and Kroger. But Amazon is only the fifty-third-largest employer in Ohio, suggesting a higher rate of employees on food stamps than its counterparts. More important, Amazon has obtained at least $123 million in state tax incentives to place warehouse and data center locations in Ohio. This reflects a perverse form of double-dipping: Amazon gets a bounty to create jobs in Ohio, and then a good chunk of the jobs are so low-paying that workers have to seek federal assistance, providing a second subsidy for the e-commerce giant.”

You can read the entire story here.
KC's View:
Fascinating stuff, and just the kind of thing that gets my blood boiling. There are a lot of stories in the news these days about Jeff Bezos’ net worth, and how he’s the richest guy on the planet … which isn’t a good look when seen in the context of this story.