Bezos’ show of appreciation on Tuesday to Amazon employees and customers who “paid for it all” after his record-breaking space flight did not dazzle Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio -Cortez (D-NY) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
“Am I supposed to be impressed that a billionaire has been to space when he has paid no federal income tax in some years and the workers at his company struggle to pay their medical bills, their rent and food for their children? »Sanders tweeted. ” Nope. It is time to invest in workers here on Earth.
Sanders’ tweet included a 54-second video showing Richard Branson winning the “billionaire space race” on July 11 in his Virgin Galactic rocket plane. The footage then features a quote Sanders gave to the New York Times about Branson and Bezos, claiming that they are the “richest guys in the world” who no longer care about Earth.
“At a time when the very rich and big corporations often pay little or nothing in taxes, they are going to have to pay their fair share so that we can protect the working families of this country and deal with climate change. Sanders said in the clip.
Warren echoed this take, tweeter: “It’s time for Jeff Bezos to do business here on Earth and pay his fair share of taxes. “
Politicians were apparently referring to a Pro Publica report that Bezos, who quit Amazon in July, paid no income tax in 2007 and 2011. He funds his rocket company by selling $ 1 billion of Amazon shares per year.
Ocasio-Cortez, meanwhile, said Amazon customers paid for Bezos’ trip while alleging that the online giant abused its “market power” to decimate small businesses.
“Yes, Amazon workers have paid for it – with lower wages, union breakdowns, a frenetic and inhumane workplace, and delivery drivers without health insurance during a pandemic,” said the New York legislator. tweeted.
Robert Reich, former Labor Secretary to President Bill Clinton, also took aim at Bezos and Branson, saying their thefts were a sign of “grotesque inequality” that allows some people to leave Earth while others suffer.
“Who else thinks Bezos should pay his fair share of taxes before thanking Amazon customers for funding his trip to space?” »Reich tweeted. “Imagine if billionaires invested so much time and money in preserving the planet we are already on. “
Bezos awarded political commentator Van Jones and Chief Jose Andres $ 100 million each at a press conference after his trip, telling the couple to donate it to charities and nonprofits.
But that apparently failed to convince Representative Earl Blumenauer, an Oregon Democrat on the Tax Drafting Ways and Means Committee, who on Tuesday proposed legislation to tax space travel for unscientific research purposes.
“Space travel is not a tax-free vacation for the rich”, Blumenauer tweeted. “We pay taxes on airline tickets. The billionaires who fly in space – producing no scientific value – should do the same, and more!
Some Amazon customers have also criticized Bezos’ nod for paying for his trip, saying he has officially lost their business.
“I don’t buy a lot from Amazon (certainly not books), but after seeing Jeff Bezos and his gang laugh at his minimum wage employees and his customers paying for his space trip, I just cancel my Amazon Prime account, ”the former Amazon said. client Jules Swain tweeted Tuesday, later calling Bezos “despicable” in a follow-up post.
“I just did the same Jules! a read response.