Bezos space flight blased as stratospheric inequality

The New York Times

The world’s richest man, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos (pictured), says Tuesday was “the best day ever” after he flew into space in his rocket and capsule.

The venture has reinforced his commitment to tackling the climate crisis, and using New Shepard (his rocket) as a stepping stone towards colonising space for the benefit of Earth.

“The whole point of doing this is to practice,” says Bezos, who announced in February that he was donating $10bn to efforts to “preserve and protect the natural world”.

“Every time we fly this tourism mission we’re practicing flying the second stage of New Glenn,” he added, referring to the planned reusable heavy-lift launch vehicle, which is central to his vision of ultimately moving industry off the planet.

Deepak Xavier from Oxfam International is less than impressed.

“We’ve now reached stratospheric inequality.

“Billionaires burning into space, away from a world of pandemic, climate change and starvation.

“Eleven people are likely now dying of hunger each minute while Bezos prepares for an 11-minute personal space flight. This is human folly, not human achievement.

‘Space race’ resources should be directed to help the poor and the planet says Estelle Henrys, Convenor of the Integral Ecology Committee of the Wellington Archdiocesan Ecology, Justice and Peace Commission.

Billionaires could make a huge contribution towards solving inequality throughout the world and advancing climate change research and development, she says.

“We see more hope for our future in the everyday decisions of people working to reduce our carbon footprints and poverty in our neighbourhoods.

In Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis said, “How wonderful would it be, even as we discover faraway planets, to rediscover the needs of the brothers and sisters who orbit around us”.

“We need to focus on caring for God’s gift of creation here on earth, rather than blasting away from it.”

Henrys and Xavier’s concerns are borne out by Forbes magazine, which says America’s richest paid Federal income taxes of just 3.4 percent of $401 billion.

Forbes says research firm ProPublica found while the median American household earns about $70,000 per year and pays 14 percent in federal taxes each year, the Forbes ’25 richest Americans’ paid a “true tax rate” of just 3.4 percent on wealth growth of $401 billion between 2014 and 2018.

“Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos paid a true tax rate of 0.98 percent as his wealth grew by a staggering $99 billion between 2014 and 2018; he reported just $4.22 billion in reported income during the same period,” Forbes quotes.

ProPublica also found Bezos paid no federal income tax in 2007, but added $3.8 billion to his fortune that year. He offset his $46 million income with losses from investments, deductions on debts and other expenses.

On his return from Space, Bezos thanked Amazon’s workers and customers for paying for his Blue Origin space flight, however some Amazon workers said they want better pay and working conditions, not a thank you.

“He should just go to Jupiter and live his best life there,” one worker told Insider.

Amazon’s $1.5 billion Lord of the Rings television series to be shoot in New Zealand could mean Bezos, the world’s richest man gets a fat New Zealand tax-payer subsidy.

In order to attract foreign screen productions, the New Zealand government offers a 25 per cent rebate on all money spent in New Zealand – in this case, that’ll be more than $150 million.


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