A reader berates commentator Robert Reich for suggesting that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos became wealthy at the expense of the poor (”Being rich doesn’t mean you abused the poor,” May 3). Granted, Mr. Bezos wealth was generated by his creative genius in starting the concept of digital retailing on an unprecedented scale. But his success came at a price.
The success of Amazon has resulted in the bankruptcy of untold number of smaller Mom and Pop brick and mortar establishments whose sales were shifted to internet transactions with Amazon. But the larger issue is how has the Amazon ownership conducted itself since its rise to dominance in the retail field? Amazon workers have reported unsafe and grueling working conditions at their warehouses. Work breaks are few and far between. Injury rates at Amazon facilities are three times the national average for warehouses, according to OSHA reports, and employees are assigned high production quotas and are fired upon failure to meet these quotas.
And finally, Amazon, one of the most profitable companies in the world, paid zero income taxes to our government in 2017 and 2018, and a paltry 1.2% of its $13.9 billion in pretax income in 2019. So the issue comes down not so much on how did Mr. Bezos make his wealth than how has he conducted himself as an employer and citizen after founding the giant enterprise called Amazon.
Jack Kinstlinger, Towson
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