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OPINION

Blasting More Corporate Welfare into Jeff Bezos’ Pockets?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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Mark Lennihan

Jeff Bezos can’t build a rocket that works, but that’s not stopping him from angling for lucrative defense contracts to launch crucial military satellites into space.

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Last month, under pressure from Democratic lawmakers from Bezos’ deep-blue home state of Washington, the U.S. Space Force released two revised request for proposal (RFP) drafts. One of them loosens the requirements for aspiring contractors, giving the mogul’s space exploration company, Blue Origin, a better shot at millions in taxpayer money. This marked a major victory for Bezos after years of lobbying to pry open the bidding process.

When it comes to corporate welfare queens, Jeff Bezos is one of the biggest.  

From the very beginning, his company, Amazon, has used offshore tax havens and other loopholes to reduce its tax bill. The company has also hoovered up more than four billion in government subsidies since the turn of the millennium, according to Good Jobs First

Other forms of Amazon cronyism are more subtle but no less insidious. In 2018, the company staged a phony city search for its massive HQ2 complex. Amazon almost certainly knew from the beginning that it would pick the Washington, D.C., area. But the fake competition allowed the e-commerce giant to bid up the tax breaks it eventually received while also gathering valuable data from other cities’ futile applications. Those cities, of course, spent thousands if not millions of dollars preparing their pitches to Amazon. Just one more way American taxpayers have footed the bill for Bezos.

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Sure, Amazon creates jobs. Unfortunately, most of those jobs stick you in a dystopian panopticon and force you to pee in bottles. But don’t worry. If you get too depressed, you can always go meditate in the suicide booth from “Futurama.” Don’t even think about trying to form a union.

And let’s not forget: a huge chunk of Bezos’ fortune now belongs to his ex-wife, Mackenzie Scott. That’s right. You worked hard and paid your taxes so the founder’s former flame could shovel that sweet, sweet subsidy cash straight into the coffers of Planned Parenthood and other left-wing activist organizations.

Now, if Bezos had the zippiest rockets in the business, it might justify piling another few million onto his dragon’s hoard of taxpayer treasure. But some of his rockets don’t work at all. Blue Origin’s New Glenn launch vehicle has been delayed on no fewer than three occasions: to 2021 in late 2018, to the fourth quarter of 2022 in early 2021, and to no earlier than Q4 2023 in March 2022. Previous versions of the RFPs limited bids to companies that had already proven their technology was up to the challenge. But Bezos wants his participation trophy and a giant check to go with it, and the Space Force, under political pressure, is considering giving it to him.

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Thankfully, the RFPs are not set in stone yet. A second draft RFP will be issued in May, and a final one during the summer. There’s still time to fix this mistake by tightening the requirements to enforce high standards and issue a strong rebuke to cronyism. 

In the era of Biden and Democrats’ control of government, it seems every unqualified, underperforming, or complete incompetent influencer is feeding at the taxpayer trough. This practice makes us poorer in every respect. If billionaire Bezos wants more taxpayer money, he can invent a rocket that works and then get in line with everybody else. It’s time “we the people” raise our standards. If our elected politicians aren’t on board, dare I suggest we replace them? Just like Bezos, they aren’t making the grade.

Chris Salcedo is president of the Conservative Hispanic Society

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