Billionaires frequently fight taxes so they can choose where to spend their money. It’s partly why Bezos helped defeat Washington’s income tax on high earners. Right wing legal teams have also derailed the state capital gains tax for high earners. So the city council is admirably trying to find an appropriate progressive tax to create more low income housing and address homelessness. Seattle’s head tax is a reasonable solution.
Frankly, Bezos is just blatantly insensitive to the suffering in Seattle’s streets everyday caused largely by the impacts of his success. As Amazon hired 40,000 new employees, rents increased and many people lost their apartments.
Here’s my column in the SeattlePI today, “Amazon, stop threatening Seattle“:
Watching video of iron workers trying to shield Amazon from a head tax by shouting down Councilwoman Sawant reminded me of an old Twilight Zone episode. In The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street, aliens manage to turn neighbors against each other, inciting fear, chaos and violence simply by flickering their lights and disabling their cars. But in Seattle, we just need to look around to see the monster in our midst, it’s Amazon…The ironworkers’ actions mirrored the agitated and misguided citizens of Maple Street. But they’re not the only ones. Around the city, homeowners are fighting the homeless as well as housing advocates, landlords are fighting renters, drivers are angry about bus lanes and bike lanes and everyone’s mad at the city council.
I encourage you to watch Bezos’ interview where he compares his interest in space travel to his limited empathy towards today’s homelessness problem in Seattle:
As the tech industry increasingly grown, the hostility in the community towards public services for the less fortunate has also grown. It’s a pathetic reflection of the values of the Amazon ethic on Seattle.