Amazon, despite doubling its profits in 2018, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy reported last week, paid nothing in federal income taxes – not a dime on the $11.2 billion the company raked in last year. It’s the second year in a row that the online behemoth has gotten away without paying any income taxes to the federal government.
Amazon doubled its profits in 2018, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy reported last week, and paid nothing in federal income taxes, not a dime on the $11.2 billion the company raked in, the second year in a row the online behemoth has paid zilch at tax time.

But recent news out of New York suggests Jeff Bezos and company might have to kick their anti-tax habit sooner rather than later. Thanks to mass grassroots pressure, Amazon has decided to walk away from plans to build a second headquarters in Queens in exchange for billions in city and state subsidies. Bezos would rather leave than play by a fair set of rules.

More this week on the activists who kept New York from rigging the economy for Amazon and how our elites are responding to the new tax-the-rich momentum.

Chuck Collins, for the Institute for Policy Studies team
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Organizers Oust Amazon HQ2 from New York
Last week, Amazon offered New Yorkers a most unexpected but welcome valentine: a breakup. The union-busting, deportation-aiding company announced it wouldn’t go forward with plans to build a new headquarters in Queens, financed in part by billions in tax subsidies from the city and state. The coalition of organizers who demanded the city invest in its communities instead of subsidizing one of the world’s largest corporations immediately hailed the Amazon decision. Negin Owliaei has more on the campaign against the richest man in the world.
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A Billionaire with a Truly Bottom-Line Moral Code
Some advice for billionaire investment fund manager Tom Barrack: Don’t give any more lectures on morality. Last Tuesday, this long-time Donald Trump pal — and chairman of his inauguration — did a bit too much moralizing. Speaking in Abu Dhabi, Barrack called the hand-wringing over Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman’s role in the savage murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi “a mistake.” After all, he noted, “we have a young man and a regime that’s trying to push themselves into 2030.” We ought not, Barrack added, try “to dictate” the Saudi “moral code.” The pushback would be quick and massive. On Wednesday, Barrack apologized, but didn’t, news reports noted, “retract praise for the crown prince.” One possible reason: Barrack’s investment fund has tanked of late, its share price down by over half. Barrack has raised over $1.5 billion in bailout aid from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. He may be hoping for still more.
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Have the Rich Always Laughed High Taxes Away?
The guardians of our conventional wisdom on taxing the rich have messed up — and they know it. They slacked off. They started believing their own tripe. Average Americans, they assumed, would never ever smile on proposals to raise tax rates on the richest among us. After all, the conventional wisdom maintains, those average folks figure that someday they’ll be rich, too. But now, with tax-the-rich proposals proliferating and polling spectacularly well, the keepers of our bless-the-rich faith are panicking. Their old rhetorical zingers no longer zing. How are they adapting to the new political environment? co-editor Sam Pizzigati, author of The Case for a Maximum Wage, has more.

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This week on 

Sarah Anderson, Blame Long U.S. Election Campaigns on Big Money in Politics. Candidates are bolting out of the gates in part because it takes so much time to raise the mega-millions needed for a presidential run. Can a new law change that?

Elimane Haby Kane, Oil Wealth in Senegal: For the Many or the Few? Income from recently discovered oil and gas deposits must go toward reducing poverty and precariousness.

Hana Sarfan, 35 Days Without Pay Show How Precarious Federal Jobs Have Become. Private companies profited off the shutdown as federal workers living paycheck to paycheck — long vilified by the right — struggled to get by.

Elsewhere on the web 

Christopher Ingraham, The tax code treats all 1 percenters the same. It wasn’t always this way, Washington Post. Before 1970, the U.S. super rich aid taxes at substantially higher rates than the merely rich.

Beckie Strum, New York City Could Levy a Pied-à-Terre Tax, Mansion Global. The levy would add an annual tax of $370,000 on any residence worth over $25 million that serves as a second (or third or fourth...) home.

Jeremy Hobson, At Davos, He Talked About Taxing The Rich. ‘They Weren't Very Happy With Me,’ Here & Now. An interview with the Dutch historian who speaks truth to power.

Mike Scutari, A Public University Mega-Gift Raises Questions Concerning Donor Influence and Equity, Inside Philanthropy. How plutocrats distort higher education.

Teresa Ghilarducci, Why Some of the Rich Want To Pay More Taxes, Forbes. All allies for justice welcome.

Josh Mound, AOC’s 70% Tax Plan Is Just the Beginning, Jacobin. Tax-the-rich plans like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's 70 percent proposal aren’t just politically popular — they're morally necessary.
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