This photo was taken during a Blue Origin event in Washington DC in May, 2019. During the event, Jeff Bezos unveiled the company's prototype lunar lander. [Photo Credit: Daniel Oberhaus, CC BY 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons]
A report from the Guardian speculates that Jeff Bezos is considering a run for office.
The Guardian reports that Bezos latest moves are preparing for a run for office.
For the past week, the centi-billionaire Amazon founder has been firing off tweets not about his typical, anodyne interests – improved penis-shaped rocket design, luxury head wax – but rather about his policy opinions. Though Bezos (or whichever PR drone drafts his tweets) writes with the bloodlessness of a man who has attended too many management consulting meetings, it is easy to imagine the seething anger that must have been present in order to prompt him to produce them in the first place. On May 13, he criticized one of Joe Biden’s economic pronouncements, tweeting that “Raising corp taxes is fine to discuss. Taming inflation is critical to discuss. Mushing them together is just misdirection.”
It would be too easy to point out here that, actually, union-busting is a tax that most hurts the least affluent, or to point out that Bezos could mitigate inflation’s damage by giving his own employees a raise. The notable thing here is not that the staggeringly wealthy executive chairman of one of the world’s most powerful companies would bristle at talk of raising corporate taxes, or that he would bemoan the pandemic-era stimulus packages that saved millions of Americans from total economic disaster. For Amazon, which depends on the existence of a nationwide standing army of desperate people who are willing to take unstable, low-wage warehouse and delivery jobs, the sales benefits of all of that stimulus money have been mitigated by what it has done to the labor market. As demand for employees has soared, it has become harder to hire people; and, more importantly, it has helped to embolden workers to the degree necessary to vote for a union, as Amazon warehouse workers did in Staten Island last month. Like Walmart and every other low-margin retail megacorp whose profits are dependent on total control of an infinite, compliant workforce, Amazon believes that unions are an existential threat. The economic conditions created in part by government stimulus programs have momentarily made things more conducive to organized labor, and therefore, must be crushed, reversed, and judged as historic mistakes, so that policymakers don’t go thinking about doing such a thing again.
Of course Bezos believes all this. Duh. We knew he was a rat-bastard union-busting ultra-rich guy many years ago. The fact that he is flying his dumb Twitter flag like a bargain-basement Elon Musk is not really worth getting exercised about. What is distressing is what this signals about Bezos’s future plans. Because when an unaccountable rich business guy starts suddenly putting himself out in the world as a Public Policy Thinker, you can be sure that he is about to start seriously leaning into the world of political influence. And that means that we are now threatened by the very real possibility that Bezos is about to make himself the next, even richer Mike Bloomberg – something that could have devastating effects on the weak-willed functionaries of the already pathetic Democratic party.
Though Bezos is certainly an economic Republican, it is hard to imagine him placing his political bets on being a Republican, if only because of what it would mean for his social life. No, if he decides that he must really jump into politics – to protect his own interests, and due to the classic rich-guy belief that nobody poorer than himself should be in charge – he is bound to use the Democratic party as his tool. He could, if he got annoyed enough, flood the party with so much incoming money that the entire “centrist” wing would crawl to his doorstep on its knees, begging to write any bill he wants. The big-picture impact would be to add a huge weight to the neoliberal side of the party’s scale, a powerful force trying to tilt the party away from its recent tiptoes towards progressivism, and towards the vision of the Democrats as the sober new corporate-friendly counterweight to the psycho Maga capture of the Republicans.
This could simply be a hit piece from a publication that clearly leans left and is nervous a self-funded billionaire like Bezos could run a a Republican.