Bernie Sanders torches Congress for considering bailing out Jeff Bezos' space company while ignoring taxpayers' needs
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is not pleased with the idea of Congress even considering bailing out Jeff Bezos's space company, Blue Origin. The discussions of a possible bailout follow Bezos losing a competitive bid to Elon Musk's company, SpaceX. But despite the loss, Sanders argues that doesn't justify the need for a bailout.
In an op-ed published by The Guardian. Sanders weighed in with a scathing opinion of Congress' legislative discussions which include a possible $10 billion dollar bailout for Bezos' space company.
"At this moment, if you can believe it, Congress is considering legislation to provide a $10bn bailout to Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin space company for a contract to build a lunar lander," Sanders wrote. "This legislation is taking place after Blue Origin lost a competitive bid to SpaceX, Musk’s company."
So, why is Sanders upset about a possible bailout for Blue Origin? According to the Vermont lawmaker, Bezos' net worth is part of the problem. The Amazon billionaire is reportedly worth $180 billion, which reportedly equates to $2,537 per second. In short, Sanders is arguing that an American business owner of his caliber has no need for a bailout from the government; not to mention he pays nothing in federal income taxes.
"Bezos is worth some $180bn. In a given year, he has paid nothing in federal income taxes," Sanders noted. "He is the owner of Amazon, which, in a given year, has also paid nothing in federal income taxes after making billions in profits. Bezos has enough money to own a $500m mega-yacht, a $23m mansion in Washington DC, a $175m estate in Beverly Hills and a $78m, 14-acre estate in Maui."
With inflation at an all-time high and more than half of U.S. workers living paycheck to paycheck, Sanders argues this is the worst time to throw such a substantial amount of money to a billionaire. "At a time when over half of the people in this country live paycheck to paycheck," he wrote, "when more than 70 million are uninsured or underinsured and when some 600,000 Americans are homeless, should we really be providing a multibillion-dollar taxpayer bailout for Bezos to fuel his space hobby? I don’t think so."
Sanders went on to explain why the issue is far bigger than just one isolated contract. With the space industry projected to be massively profitable over the next decade, Sanders isn't convinced a bailout is even needed.
"The reality is that the space economy – which today mostly consists of private companies utilizing Nasa facilities and technology essentially free of charge to launch satellites into orbit – is already very profitable and has the potential to become exponentially more profitable in the future," Bank of America predicts that over the next eight years the space economy will triple in size to $1.4tn – that’s trillion with a 't'."
The Independent lawmaker believes Congress needs to act now and have a real discussion about what should come next where space exploration is concerned.
"The time is now to have a serious debate in Congress and throughout our country as to how to develop a rational space policy that does not simply socialize all of the risks and privatize all of the profits," he wrote. "Whether it is expanding affordable high-speed internet and cellphone service in remote areas, tracking natural disasters and climate change, establishing colonies on the moon and Mars or mining asteroids, the scientific achievements we make should be shared by all of us, not just the wealthy few."
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