White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates said that it wasn’t surprising that Jeff Bezos’ tweet came after US president Joe Biden met with labour organisers, including Amazon employees
The White House on Monday uncharacteristically lashed out at Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, after he openly criticized the Biden administration’s fiscal and economic policies on Twitter.
“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,” said Andrew Bates, deputy press secretary.
“It’s also unsurprising that this tweet comes after the president met with labor organizers, including Amazon employees,” he added.
Bates was referring to President Joe Biden’s recent White House meeting with Christian Smalls, the president of the Amazon Labor Union, which caused a shock in early April when it became the company’s first labor union in the United States.
The White House released a video of the meeting, during which Biden hugged Smalls, who wore a jacket with the slogan “Eat the rich” emblazoned on it.
“You’re trouble man,” Biden told Smalls, adding: “I like you, you’re my kind of trouble.”
In recent days, Bezos criticized Biden in several posts on Twitter.
The US president has recently encouraged increasing taxes on wealthy corporations as a means of fighting rampant US inflation, an idea which seemed to irk the Amazon billionaire.
This weekend Bezos became the latest centibillionaire to launch a political fight on Twitter by denouncing a tweet from President Joe Biden about corporate taxes as disinformation and “misdirection.”
“Raising corp taxes is fine to discuss. Taming inflation is critical to discuss. Mushing them together is just misdirection,” Bezos tweeted.
Additionally, referencing Biden’s social spending Build Back Better bill, which stalled in Congress, Bezos criticized the administration for having “tried hard to inject even more stimulus into an already over-heated, inflationary economy.”
After the White House retorted Monday that Bezos opposes an economic agenda for the middle class, Bezos fired back, arguing that the Biden administration would have made inflation worse if its $3.5 trillion economic and social spending bill, known as Build Back Better, had made it into law.
“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,” Bezos tweeted.
The dispute marks an unusually high-profile one for Bezos, who has generally sought to avoid political fights in public. Bezos is the second-wealthiest person in the world, with a net worth of $150 billion, behind Elon Musk, whose wealth has reached $268 billion.
The spat began on Friday, when Biden’s account tweeted: “You want to bring down inflation? Let’s make sure the wealthiest corporations pay their fair share.”
Biden has often accused Amazon, the ecommerce giant that Bezos founded and led for nearly a quarter-century, of failing to pay its fair share in taxes. In 2017 and 2018, Amazon paid no income tax despite earning billions in profits. Since then, the company has made modest tax payments.
“Raising corp taxes is fine to discuss,” Bezos tweeted in response. “Taming inflation is critical to discuss. Mushing them together is just misdirection.”
With inputs from AFP and AP
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