Billionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' praise for Sen. Joe Manchin's obstruction of his own party's anti-poverty and climate action agenda "tells you everything you need to know" about the right-wing Democratic lawmaker, progressive organizers said Sunday as Bezos weighed in on inflation and government spending.
Bezos tweeted that the West Virginia Democrat saved the Biden administration "from themselves" by standing in the way of passing a methane fee and other far-reaching climate action, paid family leave, an extension of the Child Tax Credit, and other measures in the Build Back Better Act.
Since Manchin announced last December that he would not back the bill, he has called on his party to focus its spending proposal on reducing the federal deficit and easing inflation, which has pushed the prices of goods up by more than 8% in the last year.
As Common Dreams reported last month, Securities and Exchange Commission filings for 100 U.S. companies revealed that wealthy corporations have used inflation as a pretext for raising prices while boosting their profits.
Bezos' praise of Manchin came two days after he took aim at President Joe Biden for demanding that corporations "pay their fair share" in taxes to help bring down inflation.
The Build Back Better Act would have used revenue from higher taxes on corporations and the wealthiest Americans to invest in its anti-poverty and climate provisions. The president has criticized Amazon for its tax practices; the company effectively paid no federal taxes in 2017 and 2018 despite raking in hundreds of billions of dollars in sales revenue.
Bezos said Friday that while raising corporate taxes is "fine to discuss" and inflation must be gotten under control, the president's discussion of the two issues was a "misdirection."
CNBC reporter Brian Schwartz noted that Bezos is just the latest billionaire to align himself with Manchin and against Biden. As Common Dreams reported in January, Manchin was showered with thousands of dollars from Republican megadonor Ken Langone after tanking the Build Back Better agenda.
The economic justice group Americans for Tax Fairness (AFT) said Monday it should come as no surprise that Bezos, whose company is worth more than $1 trillion, is against a corporate tax hike and supportive of the right-wing Democrat who stopped the Build Back Better Act in its tracks.
"Jeff Bezos got $77 billion richer during the first two years of the pandemic," tweeted AFT. "Meanwhile, 99% of the world saw their incomes drop."
The White House on Sunday evening echoed AFT's comments.
"It doesn't require a huge leap to figure out why one of the wealthiest individuals on Earth opposes an economic agenda for the middle class that cuts some of the biggest costs families face, fights inflation for the long haul, and adds to the historic deficit reduction the president is achieving by asking the richest taxpayers and corporations to pay their fair share," Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates told Jeff Stein of The Washington Post.
Bates added that Bezos has timed his attacks on Biden's spending and taxation plans days after the president met with Christian Smalls, the former Amazon worker who organized a successful union drive at a warehouse in Staten Island, New York in April.
Biden also warned Amazon, "Here we come" following the union victory.