During the second Democratic debate, entrepreneur Andrew Yang criticized e-commerce giant Amazon for paying little in federal taxes, when asked about how his universal basic income (UBI) policy would work.
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On stage in Miami on Thursday, Yang said a big problem with the U.S. economy is that large companies, like Amazon, are able to avoid taxes. Part of his plan to pay for UBI includes a tax that would prevent large companies, like Amazon, from utilizing loopholes in the tax code.
The e-commerce giant has come under fire for paying “no federal taxes.” Former Vice President Joe Biden, who was also on the debate stage on Thursday, recently got into a tiff with the company after he said: “they should pay a few taxes.” Amazon hit back, claiming Biden’s problem is with the U.S. tax code, not the company.
Amazon has been adamant that is had fulfilled all of its tax obligations both at home and abroad.
Yang says his universal basic income proposal would create a “trickle-up” economy. Universal basic income (UBI) is a modern welfare scheme through which citizens are granted a consistent, livable income from the government, without condition.
Yang has proposed giving every American age 18 and over $1,000 per month, regardless of income or employment status. He has said he would fund the proposal by “consolidating some welfare programs” and imposing a value-added tax (VAT) of 10 percent. A VAT is levied on the production of goods or services produced by businesses.
Yang estimates the U.S. government could save $100 billion to more than $200 billion because people would have the means to take better care of their health, while fewer individuals would end up incarcerated.
The entrepreneur has said UBI could help combat the effects of job elimination due to technological innovation.