Bill Gates has just joined the richest man in history, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, in the world’s most exclusive club — the $100 billion dollar club. They’re the only two members, and together they own as much wealth as half of the US population.
Capitalism has failed working people. Nowhere is the failure of the rotten theory of “trickle down economics” more visible than right here in the Seattle region, where Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos make billions upon billions, while we have an affordable housing crisis, underfunded public schools, strained infrastructure, and the highest homeless population per capita of any major city in the country.
This can’t continue. We need to change Washington’s broken tax system. We need to start taxing the rich, not working people. We may not have billions — wait, hundreds of billions — but we do have hundreds of people who have already pitched in to our fight against the billionaire-backed agenda.
We can’t talk about building the tens of thousands of permanently affordable, high quality, socially owned homes needed to bring down rents, without talking about taxing big business. We can’t talk about a Green New Deal for working people in Seattle, a massive expansion of public transit, making it free and fully electric and creating thousands of family wage union jobs retrofitting homes and businesses to the highest efficiency standards, without talking about taxing the rich.
Make no mistake, billionaires will oppose us.
Washington state’s 14 billionaires have consistently poured cash into keeping their wealth and maintaining control of their corporate agenda. Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos spent millions pushing their school privatization agenda with charter school legislation, while Seattle’s public schools face a $40 billion budget deficit. Jeff Bezos was among big business representatives who poured money into defeating Initiative 1098, which would’ve created a desperately needed progressive income tax. Bezos also bullied the majority of Seattle’s City Council into backing down on the crucially needed Amazon Tax.
District 3’s very own billionaire, former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, has fought tooth-and-nail against our movements, while on average, one of our neighbors in the district is evicted every day. As Kshama said at our campaign launch, “Howard Schultz — who opposed Seattle’s 15 dollar minimum wage, and last year, put money into killing the Amazon Tax - is a District 3 resident. But I don’t represent him. I will never represent him or his billionaire buddies. I represent all those who stand for social, racial and economic justice.”
For the past five years, Kshama Sawant has unapologetically represented working-class people, even if that means making powerful enemies among Seattle’s corporate elite. To be fully accountable to working people in Seattle, she does not take a dime from corporations, CEOs, business lobbyists, or big developers. As your City Councilmember, she accepts only the average worker’s wage, donating the rest of her $130,000 salary to grassroots social movements.