Nothing like an ethical billionaire – The Bates student

Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are engaged in a modern version of The Space Race that some call a “race to the moon”. Musk’s SpaceX and Bezos’ Blue Origin recently competed for a NASA contract to send astronauts to the moon. SpaceX’s $ 3 billion offer was selected, but Blue Origin filed a lawsuit in federal claims court, arguing that the decision to reject their $ 6 billion offer in favor of SpaceX was unfair. There is currently an October 12 deadline for a federal judge to respond to Bezos’ request.

In July, Bezos flew into suborbital space for ten minutes and ten seconds with Blue Origin, a company he would have financed with at least $ 5.5 billion of his own money. A seat on the flight was auctioned for $ 28 million. According to Bezos, Blue Origin has already sold “$ 100 million in tickets for future passenger flights to the edge of space. “

Musk’s SpaceX is currently investing in a satellite internet program called Starlink, and in June he predicted that the the total investment in Starlink could reach $ 30 billion.

The total amount of money spent on these space companies mentioned so far is over $ 44.6 billion. I fall 1,876 Bates students paid the full cost of participation, it would cost less than $ 143 million. The lower bound of cost estimates for ending world hunger is $ 7 billion a year. According to a statement by a Housing and Urban Planning official, it would cost around $ 20 billion in total to end homelessness in the United States.

You might think Bezos and Musk are bad people for spending their billions on wasteful space travel, and I’d agree with you. You could say they are mean for choosing to fund space travel instead of world hunger. You would be right. However, the real truth of the matter is far worse than a judgment on the individual morals of these men.

Bezos’ net worth stands at $ 198 billion, and Musk’s is even higher at $ 209 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index of the richest 500 people in the world. I firmly believe that there is no one in the world who “needs” or “deserves” a billion dollars. Does anyone work a million times harder than anyone else? Do Bezos or Musk generate so much value in their “innovation” by spending ten minutes in the lowest rung of the suborbital space?

Instead of asking yourself why Bezos doesn’t stop homelessness, why don’t you ask: how the hell did we end up in a situation where one man raised enough money to do it? Why does anyone even have billions to spend on unnecessary space travel, as a global pandemic wreaks havoc 800 million are people hungry?

As late-stage capitalism advanced, the United States rolled back progressive tax regulations and policies in favor of lower capital gains taxes and loopholes allowing the wealthy to escape. enrich more. The highest tax bracket in this country is taxed at the rate of 37%. Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez has proposed a rate of 70% for the highest bracket, and in the 1950s, the rate reached 94%.

We shouldn’t just be mad at Bezos, Musk, and their equally wealthy peers for using their money in ways we don’t agree with. We should be angry with elected government officials, whose responsibility it is to fight income inequality by instituting a more progressive tax system.

In 2018, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk would have paid no federal taxes at all. They shouldn’t have been able to hide taxes to amass the wealth they are now abusing in the first place. We can’t wait for billionaires to be charitable or kind enough to donate money, and we shouldn’t have to. What can we do?

Tax the rich.

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