Bezos and Musk against Joe Biden: Why billionaires are suddenly anti-Democrat
The approach of the Biden administration in favor of unionization and the possibility of a tax increase on the rich (to finance different projects without triggering a deficit), does not seem to be to the liking of some of the wealthiest Americans, such as Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos, who have joined forces against Biden.
The prestigious economist Paul Krugman wrote an opinion article in The New York Times entitled: "The Perils of Plutocratic Pettiness", about how US billionaires are suddenly lashing against Biden. Aside from the founders of Amazon and Tesla, Krugman also mentions Oracle's Larry Ellison.
Krugman writes in The New York Times: "We now know that Oracle's Larry Ellison (pictured) participated in a call with Sean Hannity (TV host) and Lindsey Graham (member of the Republican Party) in which they discussed the options to overturn the 2020 election".
Both Bezos and Musk have not hesitated to criticize in unison what they agree to describe as "mismanagement" by Joe Biden. They accuse him, above all, of being to blame for the great inflation that the country is experiencing.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) in the United States reached a figure of 8.3% in its interannual rate, with significant increases in food prices -9.4% more- or energy -which is paid a 30.3% more expensive. The price of gasoline has marked historical numbers with an average that reached 4.37 dollars per gallon.
The conflict between Elon Musk and Joe Biden goes way back. According to Forbes magazine, in an act that took place at the White House in January, Biden praised the work of GM and Ford in the field of electric vehicles but didn't say anything about Tesla.
In an email to CNBC in February, Musk accused Biden of ignoring Tesla in favor of legacy automakers.
Musk did not hesitate to post a series of tweets lashing out directly against Joe Biden. He responded to a video of the president during an event with the manufacturers in which he said: "Biden is treating the American public like fools."
A few months earlier, in September 2021, Musk also criticized President Biden via his Twitter account a day after his private spaceflight, SpaceX, completed a historic mission with the first all-civilian crew.
One user on this network told Musk: “The President of the United States has refused to even recognize the four newest American astronauts who helped raise hundreds of millions of dollars for St. Jude. What is your theory about why?" To which he replied: "He's still sleeping", an allusion reminiscent of 'Sleepy Joe', a derogatory nickname used by Donald Trump for Biden.
Elon Musk has nothing to do with Trump or Republicans, though. As CNBC points out, he has voted “overwhelmingly” for the Democratic Party and has even financed their campaigns. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, he contributed $30,000 in the 2012 campaign with Obama and Biden and in 2020 he opted for the Democratic candidate Andrew Yang to the detriment of the current president.
The current situation in the United States, with skyrocketing inflation, has led Musk to criticize Biden, this time for his fiscal stimulus policy, which he says is to blame for the highest rise in inflation in decades.
Musk talked about it on 'All-in Podcast', where he literally said: "If the United States keeps hitting the money machine, it will soon be Venezuela."
In the same podcast, Musk warned: “If the government could just issue massive amounts of money and deficits didn’t matter, then, well, why don’t we just make the deficit 100 times bigger? The answer is, you can’t because it will basically turn the dollar into something that is worthless.”
Musk lamented that "Biden does not have a plan of his own" since, "it is the others who dictate what he has to do." He added: "In the case of Biden, he's simply too much captured by the unions, which was not the case with Obama."
In another interview with CNBC, Musk also took the opportunity to criticize Biden by saying: "He is someone who simply reads a teleprompter." And he added: “The real president is the one who controls the teleprompter. The path to power is the path to the teleprompter. I feel like if someone accidentally leaned on the teleprompter, it would be like 'Anchorman'"(referring to the Will Ferrell and Adam McKay comedy).
On these claims, Musk also responded to a Twitter user in a more offensive way towards the US president: "Biden is a damp sock puppet in human form."
In the aforementioned CNBC interview, Elon Musk also lamented that Biden's administration "doesn't seem to do much".
Musk also tweeted: “Inflation is the most regressive tax of all, yet is advocated by those who claim to be progressive.”
Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, has not been far behind in his criticism of Joe Biden. He has said that the only person responsible for the economic situation in the United States is the government: "The unions are not causing inflation and neither are the rich," he pointed out on his Twitter account.
Bezos also tweeted: "Remember that the Administration tried their best to add another $3.5 TRILLION to federal spending. They failed, but if they had succeeded, inflation would be even higher than it is today, and inflation today is at a 40 year high."
The owner of Amazon has also warned that "inflation is a regressive tax that hurts the neediest the most", something for which the government has accused him of opposing "a populist economic agenda pitch", according to The Washington Post.
Bezos has had an answer. Not from Biden directly, but from Michael Gwin, a White House spokesman, who said (according to CNBC): “Under President Biden, our economy has generated more than eight million jobs, unemployment has plummeted, economic growth outpaces countries like ours, and historic investment has been made in roads, bridges, ports, and an electric vehicle charging network across the country.”
“I think that's 'getting things done,' but it's no surprise that an anti-labor billionaire would look for any opportunity to snap at the heels of the most pro-union, pro-worker president in modern history,” Gwin added.
Another White House spokesman, Andrew Bates, also responded to Bezos by pointing out that "it does not take much cunning to understand why one of the richest men in the world opposes an agenda for the middle class that cuts some of the increased expenses faced by families, fights inflation and adds to the reduction of the deficit, and that includes asking the richest taxpayers and companies to pay what is fair.
In Andrew Bates' statements collected by Forbes, the spokesman added in response to Bezos' tweets against Biden: "It is also not surprising that this tweet comes after the president met with union organizations, including Amazon employees."
According to The Washington Post, Biden has often accused Amazon, the e-commerce giant that Bezos founded, of not paying fair taxes.
Regarding the tax increase for large corporations, Bezos wrote on Twitter “It is okay to discuss the increase in taxes on corporations (…) Taming inflation is essential to discuss. Mixing the two is just going in the wrong direction."
Interestingly, despite the criticism, Bezos published on the Amazon website on April 6, 2021 an opinion piece titled 'A message from Jeff Bezos' that read: "We support the Biden Administration's approach of making bold investments in American infrastructure. Both Democrats and Republicans have supported infrastructure in the past and the time is right to work together to make it happen."
And the article added: “We recognize that this investment will require concessions from all sides: both in the details of what is included and how it is paid for (we support an increase in the corporate tax rate). We hope that Congress and the Administration will come together to find the correct and balanced solution that maintains or improves the competitiveness of the United States."
However, the situation generated by inflation made Bezos change his conciliatory position. “The deficit is decreasing, because aid is no longer being given due to the pandemic and federal income is increasing due to inflation. Neither Congress nor the Joe Biden Administration have done anything to reduce the deficit,” he declared.
"Today’s billionaire class is pushing a radically anti-democratic agenda for America – backing Trump’s lie that the 2020 election was stolen, calling for restrictions on voting and even questioning the value of democracy", writes Robert Reich, a former US secretary of labor for The Guardian. Will Bezos, Musk or even Zuckerberg support the Republican candidate in the next election? Even if it's Trump? We'll see...