Jeremy Corbyn roasts multi-billionaire Jeff Bezos for donating small proportion of his wealth to charity

Conrad Duncan@theconradduncan
Monday 25 November 2019 12:45
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Picture:(Getty Images/Twitter)

Jeremy Corbyn has called out Amazon founder Jeff Bezos for donating a small proportion of his wealth to charity.

Bezos, who is the second richest person in the world (behind Bill Gates, as of 25 November), announced last week that he has donated $98.5m (£76.5m) to 32 organisations to help homeless families.

That sounds pretty impressive, until you realise that Bezos has $109bn and his donation accounts for less than 1 per cent of his wealth.

According to Corbyn, it’s just 0.09 per cent of his net worth.

Amazon notably paid $0 in US federal income tax in 2018, despite being one of the most successful companies in the world.

And under the proposed wealth taxes set out by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, Bezos would have to contribute billions of dollars every year – about $9bn with Sanders’ plan and $6bn with Warren’s.

However, some people have criticised Corbyn for finding fault in Bezos’ donation.

Here's why it is fair to question the significance of the donation - the generosity of donations should be judged by the proportion of income given, not the straight figure.

For example, if a person who earns £30,000 a year donated £1,000 to charity that would be a much more generous contribution than if someone on £3,000,000 a year donated the same amount.

If Bezos can donate $98.5m so easily, it begs the question of why he doesn’t donate more – why not donate $200m or $300m?

What does he need those millions for that's more important than helping the homeless???

It's worth remembering that a billion is a thousand million - which is more money than any normal person could ever imagine spending.

His donation is also less generous than it seems when you consider that Amazon has opposed government proposals that would have raised money to help with homelessness.

Bezos seems to think he should be the person who helps address poverty and inequality rather than governments.

That’s why some people were happy to see Corbyn criticising the Amazon chief.

Obviously, it's a good thing that homelessness charities have been given $98.5m - but it would be even better if billionaires contributed more in tax as well.

More: The world's richest man donated $98m to charity and everyone is making the same point

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