Flying around in outer space like James Bond villains, the truth is our tax-avoiding billionaire class long ago took leave of the realities of ordinary life here.
Next month, the billionaire CEO of Amazon Jeff Bezos, who has reportedly paid nothing in taxes for years at a time, will take a trip into outer space in his big Blue Origin rocket, arguably financed by the US taxpayers who paid their taxes so that he didn't have to.
It's a fact that Bezos didn't pay any income taxes at all for at least two years between 2006 and 2018, according to the ProPublica group. Tesla CEO and fellow billionaire Elon Musk also skipped paying his federal income taxes in 2018, according to their report.
But it's not like they would feel the pain of it if they did, is it? Bezos is reportedly the richest person in the world, with a net worth of approximately $188.8 billion and Musk isn't that far behind him, with a reported net worth of $153.3 billion.
At their level annual income is only a small part of their eye-popping net worth, the majority of which is the result of their highly lucrative stock holdings. So Bezos can avoid paying taxes on his accumulated wealth from his Amazon stock holdings because (in a tax loophole that favors the billionaire class) stock gains simply aren't taxed until they are realized by selling off the stock. That's lucky for them, eh?
Whilst most Americans cowered in fear during the lockdown billionaires like Bezos were making record financial gains and were busy plotting their own privately funded space race, because it turns out so many of our banner name billionaires pay little to no taxes at all, enjoying loophole advantages only available to the ultra-wealthy.
These tax discrepancies have promoted former presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren to call for a wealth tax of up to 3 percent on billionaires. This week she blasted Bezos. “Look, he’s laughing at every person in America who actually paid taxes... Jeff Bezos kept all of his money and used it on a space ticket. Uh-uh.”
Flying around in outer space like James Bond villains, the truth is our billionaire class long ago took leave of the realities of ordinary life and little people's concerns like taxes. The government is not in receipt of their fair contributions and so public programs like national infrastructure languish.
As our bridges collapse, our roads go unfixed and our railroads become ever more inefficient, Bezos and his brother Mark will take a private rocket to space in the company of an unnamed bidder who paid over $29 million to join them in the coveted third seat.
A senate bill to potentially supplement Blue Origin's space mission is currently being debated but it has one prominent detractor. “It does not make a lot of sense to me that we would provide billions of dollars to a company owned by the wealthiest guy in America,” Senator Bernie Sanders told the press last week.
All told Bezos, his brother and their billionaire stowaway will be in outer space for eleven expensive minutes next month, indulging in their rich boys' own adventure 62 miles above the earth, where the only thing trickling down will probably be their laughter.