‘Nothing Says Tax the Rich Like a Recreational Billionaire Space Race’: Critics Denounce Bezos Flight | Common Dreams News

The New Shepard launch came days after business magnate Richard Branson launched his own spacecraft, beginning what the news media has called a “billionaire space race.” Both flights made the latest powerful argument for a wealth tax, said critics like Public Citizen, which tweeted Tuesday: “Nothing says tax the rich like a recreational billionaire space race.”  Warren Gunnels, policy adviser to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), tweeted that  “if there was any economic justice in the world, we would impose a $100 billion re-entry tax on Jeff Bezos upon his return from outer space.”

With a net worth of more than $200 billion, Bezos has for years reported to the IRS a salary of just $80,000 per year, allowing him to pay a “true tax rate” of less than 1%, according to a recent analysis by ProPublica. 

Stephen Prince, vice chair of the Patriotic Millionaires, pointed out that when the first American went to space five decades ago, the top income tax rate was 91%—making Bezos’s space launch “a sad reminder of just how far our country has fallen.”

After returning to Earth on Tuesday, Bezos thanked “every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer, because you guys paid for all of this”—a statement supported by reports that warehouse workers at his ecommerce company are only permitted strictly timed bathroom breaks and are discouraged from interacting with one another during their 10-to-12 hour shifts, while delivery drivers have been known to urinate in plastic bottles instead of finding public bathrooms, in order to keep up with demand.

‘Nothing Says Tax the Rich Like a Recreational Billionaire Space Race’: Critics Denounce Bezos Flight | Common Dreams News