Leave Jeff Bezos Alone

Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin

We could have a conversation about how healthy or unhealthy it is to have a single human being with the purchasing power of the entire continent of Africa and half of South America. Especially when they move beyond their core function of getting fanny packs and processed cheese products from Point A to Point B extremely efficiently. The mega-wealthy buying up media channels and newspapers and Congressional representatives doesn’t bode well. We’re approaching an entirely unique level of power disparity when the mega-rich guy can buy the working-class guy’s bodily organs with his couch change.

Jeff Bezos has made about $1.8 million an hour for the past 27 years straight at Amazon. He started at $0 an hour, that’s quite a raise quotient. Outside of being crazy-rich and having a stupid looking head, you can’t really find people who have evil villain characteristics they can rightly stick on Bezos. Does he pay Amazon workers mediocre wages at $15 an hour in the warehouses? Yeah. Does Apple pay the equivalent of $1.62 an hour to its factory workers in China and nobody gives a damn or lifts an eyebrow any longer? Yeah. And before you come back with $1.62 in China probably isn’t bad, it’s less than half of what China itself calls their living wage standard. You don’t have to work at Amazon if it sucks.

Especially during Covid pandemic lockdown level 19 anxiety protocols, Amazon was pretty damn amazing. Amazon doesn’t dominate the consumer goods sales and delivery space because it’s got a cool name and its logo looks like a dick with Peyronie’s disease. It identified a massively desired service, which wasn’t even its original intention (which was to be an online bookstore), made it highly affordable, and the entire population minus a few haters jumped into the mix. This isn’t like being forced to buy the state brand vodka in the Soviet Union. You don’t have to buy from Amazon. People do because it’s incredibly convenient and well-priced. Like Facebook which everybody swears they left but somehow photos of their epic pear salad from yesterday afternoon just appeared in your timeline.

Jeff_Bezos_Early Amazon Office
There is no denying that Jeff Bezos and Amazon started off from scratch.

Then there was Amazon’s domination of the cloud computing and web services market with Amazon Web Services (AWS). And some, okay, legitimately evil and weird side ventures like selling facial recognition tech to the police and military. Bezos is a guy who didn’t start with much really and built an entirely free market empire currently worth $1.8 Trillion. I sold a business once for about 7 fewer zeroes than that and I felt like a railroad baron.

Nothing stopped any of us from starting Amazon in 1994 and convincing our wife we weren’t crazy or going to lose the few bits of everything we had. We used to honor people like that. Granted, those past success stories were still in the relative realm of calculable wealth, like the guy who invented Velcro or the first person to put porn on VHS tape. We might see them at a restaurant we could afford a couple times a year. Bezos cryo-nates on a 50,000 square foot luxury hovercraft floating above one of the ten states he owns. You won’t see him at Bennigans.

Then there are the taxes. Even if you’re one of those people shamelessly big on double taxation, at the corporate level and again at the personal level, Jeff Bezos hardly created the lousy corporate tax code. That’s been around since he had hair and was still having sex with his wife. Wait, that may be my Bill Gates joke.

The fact that your grandma who works a double shift at Dunkin Donuts paid more in taxes than Amazon did in some given year is largely irrelevant. Nor the fact that a guy who makes Scrooge McDuck piles of gold coins every year pays a lower tax rate than the average Joe. Bezos still paid a billion in taxes and the average Joe paid a couple of grand. He also donated $10.1 billion to education and climate charities in 2020, making him the world’s grand poohbah of charitable donations. Is it enough? I don’t know. It’s more than anybody else and must affect some positivity in the world. People donate their old clunker cars and feel like Mother Theresa for six months. For a sense of scale.

Up up and away went the Blue Origins Bezos penis rocket into space for 11 minutes.

Which leads to the rocket race to space. Billionaires used to buy sports teams. Now they’re all super nerds so they’re putting their stupid money into building spaceships. This doesn’t include Elon Musk, another filthy rich person people hate because he builds tons of things people love and they can’t. Musk’s building a space exploration program built on the back of a satellite launching business. Here we’re talking Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos competing with one another on who could first build a metal tube that could take them and their wealthy friends into zero G’s above the atmosphere. Let’s call it a purely recreational pursuit. And so what?

The reason men make money is to acquire hot women and stupid things. Toys. Boys are different than girls. Don’t believe what you hear in public school and the angry parts of Twitter. So, all of Twitter. Boys like to buy shiny, stupid things. That includes spaceships. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Because of that innate desire, we have tons of photos of Mars’ barren surface up on Shutterfly to make into drink coasters. We have satellites that circle this planet and provide us with pornography anywhere in the world 24 hours a day. Loving spaceships is not a bad thing. Nor is building one for fun cause you can.

We count on our wealthy elite to be eccentric and wild. It’s aspirational. We should want to be like them. The Royals of England are boring AF billionaires. They won’t even crack a smile. They hide their excessive purchases. And they couch the rest as belonging to the people. Who can have it all back in 500 years or during the next Reich. The superyacht ought to be still in ship shape by then.

They’re lame mega-rich people. That’s why all their kids hate them and marry divorced TV actresses with ignoble intentions. In contrast, Richard Branson’s kid just said how awesome she thought her dad was for building his flying spaceship. Jeff Bezos’ kids are kept in a locked vault somewhere beneath one of the many active volcanoes he owns, but rest assured, with three boys, they are geeking out at dad whipping up to sort of space in his penis-shaped rocket. I got excited when my dad showed me how he could blow big bubbles with Bazooka. Jeff Bezos is blowing bubbles for all the world’s children.

Occasionally, and I don’t recommend this very often, try a super honest reflection on why you don’t like somebody. I don’t mean the guy who builds a McMansion on his small lot next to yours or farts in the elevator or is a Philly sports fan so you have a right to genuinely dislike. I mean, somebody you’ve never met before. Somebody who’s never been accused of a crime. Who didn’t bang models on the side when he could’ve afforded dozens of the Victoria’s Secret kind. I mean, old school V.S., before they were inclusively fat and had penises taped to their thighs and practiced Halal. Not even a DUI or a dust-up at a kid’s little league game for Bezos. If he was your neighbor, he’s probably lend you his tools.

Hating rich people definitely can and should be a thing. But they should be idle rich pumpkinheads like Prince Harry or creepy weird secret global medical plotters like Bill Gates. It’s hard to hate Bezos. He built a rocket. He went up in the rocket in a stupid hat. He looked like a kid who had a two billion dollar rollercoaster all to himself. He doesn’t owe you more than free 48-hour delivery for Prime Members. The rest is merely envy hate. It’s an easy trap.