Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders had nothing but criticism for Apple, following the company’s announcement that it plans to pledge $2.5 billion to fight California’s housing crisis. Sanders suggested the Cupertino firm helped create the housing crisis.
“Apple’s announcement that it is entering the real estate lending business is an effort to distract from the fact that it has helped create California’s housing crisis – all while raking in $800 million of taxpayer subsidies, and keeping a quarter trillion dollars of profit offshore, in order to avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes,” Sanders said in the release.
Sanders also vowed that he would make big companies like Apple pay “their fair share,” using the money to make “investments that guarantee Americans affordable housing.”
Earlier in the day, Apple announced a $2.5 billion plan to help address the California housing crisis. Apple plans to help battle to skyrocketing costs for renters and potential homebuyers. The company says the availability of affordable housing is failing to keep pace with the region’s growth.
Another $1 billion is earmarked for a first-time buyer mortgage assistance fund, and the company will also launch a $150 million affordable housing fund. Another $50 million will be spread among a variety of organizations to combat homelessness.
In addition to the financial investments, Apple says it is also prepared to make approximately $300 million worth of land it owns in San Jose available for affordable housing development.
“Apple is the latest tech industry tax evader that has portrayed its entry into the housing business as an act of philanthropic altruism,” Sanders said in his release.
While Sanders agrees with Apple that California is facing a housing crisis that has the potential to be a disaster, they differ in how the crisis should be resolved.
Apple and others, like Google, are proposing grant and loan programs, while Sanders is calling for a hike in taxes on firms like Apple and Google. Sanders’ $2.5 trillion “Housing for All” proposal would hit America’s wealthy with a tax to provide housing for all U.S. residents. The proposal would impact households with a net worth of $32 million.
“When we defeat Donald Trump, we are going to make companies like Apple start paying their fair share, so that we can finally start making massive long-term investments that guarantee Americans affordable housing,” Sanders said in today’s statement.