Shortly after finishing his eleven-minute stand at the edge of space, a melodic Jeff Bezos expressed gratitude for those who worked and bought items from Amazon, without whom the subordinate mission would not have been possible. Speaking at the press conference after the flight, the founder of Amazon laughed at the assembled journalists but expressed anger among several commentators. “I want to thank every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer because you paid for all of this. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart,” Bezos said. Yet his remarks annoyed several members of Congress, who were quick to point out that Bezos and Amazon historians have historically avoided paying taxes.
In a tweet, Senator Elizabeth Warren responded that “Jeff Bezos paid all the hard-working Americans to actually run this country when he and Amazon paid nothing,” forgetting to thank, “before announcing his intention to push for reform,” the billionaire. And mega-corporations began to pay their fair share.”
Similarly, Oregon correspondent Earl Blumener tweeted: “We pay taxes on air tickets. Millionaires flying in space – making no scientific value – should do the same thing and then something!” Bloomener announced that he has introduced a new law called the Securing Protection against Carbon Emissions (SPACE) tax law, which will impose tariffs on space tourists to indulge the environmental impact of rocket launches.
Much of the criticism leveled at Bezos relates to a recent report, which found that he and several other billionaires paid a surprisingly small amount of income tax. According to IRS documents, the founder of Blue Origin increased his personal value to $99 billion between 2014 and 2018, still paying less than $100 million in taxes during this period – a tax rate of less than one percent. In contrast, the average American household earned about $70,000 a year during that period and paid federal taxes at 14 percent.
In both 2007 and 2011, Bezos paid no federal income tax, and Amazon avoided paying any taxes even after making billions of dollars in profits in 2017 and 2018.