Bay Area Rep. Ro Khanna and Tucker Carlson blast Instacart for 'wage theft'
Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) accused Silicon Valley companies of committing "wage theft" by not paying employees enough, and warned of a growing "populist backlash" against big tech companies during a Friday appearance on Tucker Carlson Tonight on Fox News.
Khanna and Carlson singled out Instacart, a grocery delivery company that recently came under fire for using customer tips as a part of employees' base pay.
"It's outrageous," Khanna told Carlson. "It's a $7 billion company, they're going IPO and they're basically having wage theft. They're stealing the tips that should go to the employees to lower their base pay."
Khanna, who represents Silicon Valley in California's 17th congressional district, also called out Instacart for setting the default tip at 5 percent.
"Who tips 5 percent?" he asked. "They actually have a lower default tip because they don't want to make it seem like customers should pay more, and then if you do pay more, they're taking that tip away. I mean, it's just a scam."
Prior to introducing Khanna, Carlson said that "exploitation is now the standard in the brave new economy the donor class has created."
"Almost all gig economy workers are contract employees, that means they don't get health insurance, they don't make enough to support themselves," the conservative host said. "Tax payers make up the difference with social programs, and that's one of the reasons your taxes keep going up, so that the hipsters who run Uber can afford to buy another compound in Hawaii."
Carlson blamed this "exploitation" for the increasing popularity of socialism in America.
"If you keep it up, sensible people will become socialists," he said. "If you keep it up long enough, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will become president of the country."
Khanna touted his support for Bernie Sanders' "Stop BEZOS Act," a bill that would require large companies to pay for some of the social programs their employees use.
"We were paying for food stamps and we're paying for a lot of the social programs, and here the richest company in the world wasn't paying a $15 minimum wage," he said. "In response to that, Bernie Sanders and I had that legislation. Bezos announced a $15 minimum wage, so they felt some pressure and did raise wages."
The Bay Area lawmaker also ripped into tech companies for outsourcing jobs overseas, and said the benefits of the "digital revolution" are only going to wealthy executives on the coasts.
"If you want to prevent a populist backlash in this country to what's happening, you need to be forward-looking," he said.
You can watch the full exchange in the video above.
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