Amazon founder Jeff Bezos enters orbit, sparks criticism

The multi-billionaire became the second high-profile private citizen to make it into space this month.


Blue Origin, the private aerospace firm founded by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, successfully sent a manned mission into orbit using its New Shepard rocket. The four-member crew was composed of Bezos, his brother Mark, Wally Funk, and Oliver Daemen. The mission grew criticism from many, including members of congress, over a comment Bezos made thanking Amazon customers for funding the takeoff. Bezos has come under scrutiny in recent years for the working conditions and pay at Amazon, as well as the billionaire’s penchant for avoiding tax liability.

Today’s mission was designated N-16 by Blue Origin, marking the sixteenth mission conducted by the firm. The flight launched off from Con Ranch in Van Horn, Texas, and lasted just ten minutes and eighteen seconds.

The real fireworks didn’t go off until the New Shepard rocket touched down. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren took to Twitter to scold Bezos over the astoundingly low amount of taxes the billionaire has paid recently.

Though Bezos is certainly not alone in finding ways to skirt tax liability, his total fortune is so large that it is easy to affix a bullseye to the multi-billionaire. According to a report last month by ProPublica, the richest folks in the world are as good at dodging taxes as Mike Trout is at playing baseball and Jeff Bezos is as crafty as any of them. It is estimated that the Amazon founder had an effective tax rate of 0.98% from 2014-2018.

With income inequality at alarming levels worldwide, it shouldn’t be surprising that some folks were not as enthralled by the Blue Origin mission as others.

Contributing Tech Editor

Chris Jarrard likes playing games, crankin' tunes, and looking for fights on obscure online message boards. He understands that breakfast food is the only true food. Don't @ him.

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