The richest man in the world, billionaire Jeff Bezos, recently announced that he and his younger brother, Mark, would be aboard the first manned flight of Blue Origin's New Shepard, starting the space tourism business of that company owned by the also founder of Amazon.
This Saturday, one of the seats in the fully automated capsule, which has space for up to six passengers, each with a large window, was auctioned for $ 28 million, in a bid in which more than 7,500 people from 159 countries participated.
But not everyone has welcomed the tourism project with similar enthusiasm. U.S. Senator for the state of Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren, strongly criticized Jeff Bezos and his plans to travel to space.
The legislator's statements were motivated by the publication of a report that revealed that the country's billionaires, including the founder of Amazon, often use mechanisms to pay less taxes than the middle class.
According to Warren, the businessman "is laughing at every person in the U.S. who actually paid taxes."
"Jeff Bezos's trip to outer space," she added, "is being financed by the rest of the American taxpayers who paid their taxes so he wouldn't have to. Jeff Bezos kept all of his money and uses it in a space ticket "
Just a few days ago, an analysis by the news organization ProPublica, based on a collection of tax data from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), found that the 25 richest Americans, including Jeff Bezos, Michael Bloomberg, George Soros, and Elon Musk paid relatively little - and sometimes nothing - in federal income taxes between 2014 and 2018.
According to The New York Times, these documents reveal the marked inequality in the American tax system, as some plutocrats managed to benefit from a complex web of technicalities in the tax code and also from the fact that the United States privileges taxing earned income instead of wealth.
In addition to Bezos, who was already a billionaire in 2007 and did not pay a single penny in federal income taxes, a fact that was repeated in 2011, Amazon has been one of the companies that benefited the most from the COVID-pandemic. 19.
Thanks to the confinement, the electronic commerce giant achieved, in the first nine months of 2020, a net profit of 14,109 million dollars -an increase of 69% compared to the same period of the previous year-, in which it attained 8,320 million, and so far in 2021 its rate of earnings hasn’t only been kept, but has even accelerated, despite the fact that the United States has made progress in the vaccination process and its economy is reopening.
But as senators like Elizabeth Warren discover what everyone already knew - "that the tax system was rigged for the ultra-rich" - and push for their proposal to establish a wealth tax of up to 3% for billionaires, civil servants The government officials, referring to the report published by ProPublica, have stated that federal authorities were investigating the dissemination of private tax information, something that could be a crime.
"Any disclosure of confidential information by a person with access is illegal," Jen Psaki, the White House spokeswoman, said at a press conference. "We take this very seriously."
In what the government and some billionaires agree, the tourist Jeff Bezos fulfills the dream he had since he was five years old of traveling to space. According to him: "Seeing Earth from space changes you and changes your relationship with the planet and with humanity."
Translated by Amilkal Labañino / CubaSí Translation Staff