Elizabeth Warren Demands Wealth Tax, Says Jeff Bezos Gets Same Salary as Teacher

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has renewed her call for a wealth tax on some of the richest people in the United States and singled out Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos for his relatively low salary.

Warren took to Twitter on Friday and highlighted the fact that while Bezos is worth tens of millions of dollars, he draws a salary roughly equivalent to a Massachusetts public school teacher.

"Jeff Bezos is the second-richest person in the world. His net worth is nearly $195 billion dollars. But his salary is about the same as the average public school teacher in Massachusetts: $80,000," Warren wrote.

Taxing income alone won't make him pay his fair share. It's time for a #WealthTax," the senator wrote.

Bezos, the founder of online retail giant Amazon who currently serves as the CEO, drew a base salary of $81,840 in 2019, according to a report from Market Watch.

This is the same base salary Bezos was paid in 1998. This represents about double the median U.S. income. Nonetheless, Bezos has a net worth of over $190 billion, thanks mainly to the shares he owns in the company. He is due to step down as CEO later this year.

According to The Seattle Times, Bezos retains around a 10 percent stake in Amazon as of May 11 this year following his decision to sell $6.7 billion worth of stock.

Bezos' ex-wife MacKenzie Scott was also granted 25 percent of Bezos' stock as part of their divorce settlement, representing 4 percent of the company's stock, according to The Wall Street Journal

Warren's comparison to a Massachusetts teacher also appears to hold up. A MassLive report from October 2018 noted that the average salary for a teacher in the state was $79,000. The exact salary differed by the school district, with the highest salary for a public school teacher being paid over $100,000 and the lowest below $50,000.

Warren has pushed for a tax on the wealthy for some time. On June 14, she shared her plan on Twitter and made clear references to Bezos as well as Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg among others.

"The rich and powerful have rigged the rules to make themselves richer and more powerful. That leads to the income gap. But income inequality doesn't hold a candle to wealth inequality. It is long past time for a #WealthTax in America," Warren tweeted.

On her website, Warren outlines how Bezos' wealth - as well as the wealth of other billionaires - has increased over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic using interactive graphs.

"Elizabeth's Ultra-Millionaire Tax is a two-cent per dollar tax on people with a net worth above $50 million — and a few cents more for the billionaires," the plan says.

"That means Jeff Bezos would pay $5.58 Billion under Elizabeth's wealth tax."

Newsweek has asked Senator Elizabeth Warren and Amazon for comment.

Elizabeth Warren Questions the IRS Commissioner
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) questions Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Charles Rettig during a Senate Finance Committee hearing June 8, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Warren has called on Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to make more tax. Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images