Jeff Bezos: Self-made man?
In the United States, we revere the wealthy, especially those who are "self-made".
We love success stories. The titans of industry and business always held our attention. Whether it is Gordon Gecko in Wall Street or John D. Rockefeller, we put those who have incredible financial success on a pedestal.
American are anti-socialist. They hate handouts. "Pull yourself up by your bootstraps" is the ideal. It is the country of John Wayne after all.
Presently, Jeff Bezos, the King of Retail, is now at the top of the money list. His net worth is estimated to be over $130B.
This is not to pick on Bezos in particular but he exemplifies what is taking place.
To start, many Amazon employees are not faring very well. Bezos is making out like a champ, the average Amazon worker, not so much.
In one state, there are 700 Amazon workers on food stamps. These people are sustained, not by Bezos, but the U.S. taxayer. Is this capitalism?
People claim that we cannot tax someone like Bezos because he creates jobs. We see that is true. What is omitted from the conversation is the taxpayer is forced to supplment the income so that Bezos and his Wall Street stock holders can fatten their pockets.
Another problem with the Bezos being self-made is that he made his fortune as an online retailer. That means he operates on the internet. It is interesting to note that Bezos makes his money off something that was funded by the taxpayer. It was the U.S. Government that created the internet (sorry Al Gore).
Bezos is moving into drones. Guess who paid for that development? The taxpayer.
The lasers in his warehouses? Taxpayer.
Satellite communications? Taxpayer
Solar power? Much of the research funded by the DOE (taxpayer)
People often overlook the foundational research that is funded through grants by the D.O.D. and D.O.E. This is the type of research that does not result in commercial products. Instead, it either pushes research forward by opening other possibilities or ends traveling down that path by concluding that it is a dead end.
These two organzations fund these grants with tax dollars.
Many of the people employed by Amazon are only there until he can figure out how to automate their jobs away. When you look at what he is implementing, most of it was funded, at one time, by taxpayers.
We have not even mentioned the subsidies a company like Amazon gets through tax breaks and other handouts from the different levels of government.
Bezos is not alone in this arena. We can apply the same logic those at Microsoft, Google, Tesla, Netflix, and a host of other companies. It does not require much searching to see where taxpayer money went to fund the basic components of their businesses.
Are they individuals or companies doing anything wrong? Not really. They are operating within the system that we created for them. What is the issue is people defending this system like it is working.
Does anyone believe that a system where roughly 12% of a company's workforce, in a particular area, is dependent upon food stamps is successful? Should people who have jobs they show up to each day have to depend upon the government to eat? Is this satisfactory when the CEO of that company is the richest man in the world and the stock is one of the best performers on Wall Street?
This is not a company that is stuggling to keep the doors open, hence having to cut back as much as possible.
Here is the core of the entire debate. These Amazon employees are not lazy. They are working a job to earn money so as to take care of themselves. It is safe to say that not all of them are stupid. They are not all drug addicts or alcoholics. Nor are they from third world nations. They are living and working in the United States.
We are not going to see any progress until the masses agree the system is broken. As long as people revere guys like Bezos and his "self made" fortune, the system will remain in place. It is easy to look at a few hundred thousand warehouse workers with contempt. We will see how the attitudes change when one's wife who works as a paralegal is laid off. Or when the wages at the hospital are cut since nursing starts to see automation enter it. Or the junior lawyer is let go because legal research and low end cases are automated.
The mainstream media likes to promote how well things are going and how low unemployment is. As this situation proves, working is no longer a defense against poverty. It is possible for large numbers of people to be employed and still broke.
We have an unemployment rate of 3.9% while 50 million Americans cannot pay all their bills.
Are that many people stupid, lazy, and lacking of self restraint so as not to spend money senselessly?
Or is there a larger issue taking place?
We really need everyone to answer these question if we are going to make the changes needed to improve humanity. Because in our view, there is something seriously wrong with this picture.
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