Amazon’s CEO Bezos comes out in support of national infrastructure bill
Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com, supports spending big on infrastructure, even if that means his company is required to pay more in taxes to get it done.
“We recognize this investment will require concessions from all sides — both on the specifics of what’s included as well as how it gets paid for (we’re supportive of a rise in the corporate tax rate),” said Mr. Bezos in a statement. “We look forward to Congress and the Administration coming together to find the right, balanced solution that maintains or enhances U.S. competitiveness.”
Mr. Biden’s American Rescue Plan is being pitched by members of his cabinet, including Pete Buttigieg, Secretary of Transportation. In testimony before Congress last month, Mr. Buttigieg said the nation faces a $1 trillion backlog on repairs and improvements, even with “hundreds of billions of dollars in good projects already in the pipeline.”
Sec. Buttigieg likened the need for a massive project to the creation of the interstate highway system under President Eisenhower and the transcontinental railroad the century before.
“We see other countries pulling ahead of us, with consequences for strategic and economic competition,” he testified. “By some measures, China spends more on infrastructure every year than the U.S. and Europe combined. The infrastructure status quo is a threat to our collective future.”
Critics of Mr. Biden’s plan typically agree there is a need for increased spending on infrastructure but question its priorities and the strategy of raising corporate taxes.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) believes returning tax rates to the same levels as under the Obama administration, as proposed by Mr. Biden, will reduce investment and hiring.
Skeptics point out that supporters of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed by Republicans said it would increase investment, create jobs and significantly raise the wages of American workers. The NRF was among those claiming that higher rates were costing the average worker as much as $4,690 a year. Many corporations used the windfall in the 2017 legislation for stock buy-backs, with a comparatively small amount going to workers.
President Biden has expressed a willingness to work out the details of the plan with Democrats and Republicans as long as negotiations are not used as a delaying tactic. Some legislators, such as Sen. Joe Manchin (D – WV), have suggested that an increase, albeit smaller than proposed, would be a middle ground that he and others could agree on.
- A Message From Jeff Bezos – Amazon.com, Inc.
- Testimony of Pete Buttigieg, Secretary of Transportation Before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure – U.S. Department of Transportation
- NRF Urges Administration to Prioritize Infrastructure Investment in President’s $2T Proposal – National Retail Federation
- Corporate taxes cost American workers more than $4,000 in lower wages – National Retail Federation
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Are you surprised by Jeff Bezos’ qualified endorsement of the outlines of the American Rescue Plan? What do you see as the most needed infrastructure improvements with regard to the retailing industry and its suppliers and what, if anything, should retailers be willing to do (or pay) to support passage and implementation?