I’m lucky to live in a place as wonderful as Austin, Texas. It’s not San Francisco but it has just enough transplants from California that it’s starting to feel like it! We even have at least 3 In-N-Out’s. Haha, that’s just a little bit of Texan bitching — contrived and tired, I’m sure you’ve heard it enough. But you know what’s not a joke? Whole Foods. We have a WHOLE lot of them and I think that the old corporate office was based out of Austin. You know who owns Whole Foods? Amazon. I was driving past a Whole Foods on my morning commute down the ‘time-saving’ Mopac Expressway Loop 1. Whoever designed the infrastructure in Austin did a great job because no one lets anyone merge and people use frontage roads like warp tunnels and then try to merge back in. Anyways, I was driving past Whole Foods and I realized something. I can use it as an Amazon locker. Instead of shipping questionable packages to my home where people may question what’s arriving – I can conveniently take a trip to my local Whole Foods to pick up my personal massage devices and Amazon Echo Personal Assistant.
While I was thinking about Whole Foods, a radio ad played about how Amazon Prime members can get a discount on items at Whole Foods. There’s already a wonderful selection of fresh, organic and home cooked delicacies for fantastic prices at Whole Foods, so a Prime discount seems like a gift. For only $119 a year, Amazon Prime lets you get cheaper groceries, free shipping, access to quality entertainment through Prime Video, access to the best gamers on Twitch.tv (and lots of great PUBG LOOT!), a huge library of streaming music, Amazon Dash buttons for refilling my tide pod supplies, access to Amazon’s secret vitamin stash Amazon Elements, and a free trial to the acclaimed Washington Post which is owned by Jeff Bezos. This is an insane amount of stuff for just a single day’s paycheck (based on data supplied from a site called ycharts).
If you go beyond this, you have to start asking what all Amazon is actually doing besides providing this great free shit. Amazon has set up a mass distribution network across the United States, moving merchandise for easy distribution by the US Post Office. The USPS may be shipping 40 – 62 percent of Amazon’s packages depending on whatever fact-checking site you choose to believe. Amazon literally has given the post office a reason to stay open in an age where no one sends letters except to try to get people to come to their expensive wedding. Their warehouse has created jobs! Drop-shipping jobs, fake review jobs, moving boxes jobs, guy staying employed at the post office despite pension problem jobs. In fact, Amazon has created roughly 382,400 jobs (more than 46 states according to Time). Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods is providing affordable meals without the need for food stamps. Amazon’s meal delivery helps busy families eat healthy. Amazon’s new pilot “Uber-like” delivery service gives customers quick access to goods they purchased while cutting out the US Post Office. So, I guess while the Post Office currently has work, these automated systems may eventually end it.
Now on the other hand, what does the government provide? Nothing. Amazon is one of the sole reasons that American infrastructure continues to exist. Roads would be meaningless without Amazon. Food is now affordable. Entertainment is just a click away. There’s even talks that Amazon is getting into the health business. Health insurance through Amazon Prime, a single-payer miracle! We live in a society and because of that there’s only one solution.
When I began writing this, Bernie hadn’t decided to throw out his STOP JEFF BEZOS BILL. But I think he has it backwards. Amazon shouldn’t pay taxes, we should pay a tax so that everyone can benefit from Amazon. This would give everyone access to the valuable services Amazon provides and provide capital for more services. It’d be easy to tax. $119 dollars a year is pennies out of paychecks. We already pay income tax and social security and who knows where that goes (honestly, this would be a prime time to roll social security into an Amazon Prime Pool). The Amazon Tax would be transparent and we’d know exactly how those pennies are utilized. One of the best features of Amazon is their ability to know exactly what I want through remarketing. If they manage to make a profile of every individual, we’d never have to think or want again. They could set up a system to automatically buy us the things we’re thinking of – but in order to do this, they’d need support from the government and the citizens (us!).
There’s lots of room for this initiative to grow. In the future, the government could just relegate all responsibilities to Amazon and we could return to the glorious days of serfdom. It’d set the path for Corporate Feudalism and wars would no longer be between countries, but instead between entities such as BURGER KING and MCDONALDS (though all will be absorbed by the mighty kingdom of AMAZON).
Let’s make it happen, America!
Also published on Medium.