Oh no. Is Jeff Bezos preparing to run for office? | Hamilton Nolan

yF Bezos is getting nervous. You can tell because he’s browsing Twitter more, which is the global activity of those who channel their anxiety in an unhealthy way. This would make the rest of us nervous, too. This is a big, flashing warning sign that America’s richest union striker is about to throw himself even more force into politics – an inevitable that can have many bad outcomes, but only one good outcome.

Over the past week, billionaire Amazon The founder launched tweets not about his typical soothing interests — an improved rod-shaped rocket design and fancy headwax — but about his political views. Although Bezos (or whatever PR drone crafting his tweets) happily writes of a man who has attended plenty of management consulting meetings, it is easy to imagine the furious rage that must have been there to get him to produce them in the first place. On May 13, he criticized one of Joe Biden’s economic statements, tweeting that “Discussing raising corporate taxes is a good thing. Taming inflation is critical to the discussion. Bringing them together is just misguided.”

He followed this up with another, saying, “The administration has tried so hard to inject more stimulus into an already sweltering inflationary economy, and only Manchin has saved them from themselves. Inflation is a regressive tax that harms the richest.” On Monday, he again criticized against failed Democratic stimulus bills, saying they would have increased inflation.

It would be too easy to suggest here that union busting is actually a tax that hurts the wealthiest, or to suggest that Bezos could mitigate the damage of inflation by giving his employees a raise. The notable thing here is not that the amazingly wealthy CEO of one of the world’s most powerful companies might be wary of talking about raising corporate taxes, or that he will bemoan the pandemic-era stimulus packages that saved millions of Americans from systemic economic catastrophe. For Amazon, which relies on having a standing nationwide army of desperate people willing to take on precarious, low-wage warehouse and delivery jobs, the sales benefits of all that stimulus money has been mitigated by what it has done to the job market. With the high demand for employees, it became difficult to hire people; More importantly, it has helped encourage workers to vote for union, as workers at Amazon warehouses on Staten Island did last month. Like Walmart and every other low-margin retail giant whose profits depend on total control of an endless, compliant workforce, Amazon believes unions are an existential threat. The economic conditions created by government stimulus programs have partly made things more conducive to orderly action and, therefore, must be squashed, reversed, and judged as historical errors, so that policy makers will never think of doing such a thing again.

Of course, Bezos believes in all this. duh. We knew he was a very wealthy union-busting man many years ago. The fact that he’s raising a stupid Twitter flag like Elon Musk downstairs isn’t really worth rehearsing for him. what he is Sad is what this indicates about Bezos’ future plans. Because when a wealthy, unaccountable businessman suddenly begins to position himself in the world as a public policy thinker, you can be sure that he is about to start leaning seriously into the realm of political influence. That is, we are now threatened by the very real possibility that Bezos is about to make himself the next, and wealthier, Mike Bloomberg — something that could have devastating effects on the weak-willed staff of the already pathetic Democratic Party.

Although Bezos is certainly an economic Republican, it is hard to imagine him placing his political bets on being a Republican, not least because of what that might mean for his social life. No, if he decides that he must really jump into politics – to protect his own interests, and because of the classic rich man’s belief that no one poorer than him should be responsible – he is bound to use the Democratic Party as his instrument. He could, if annoyed enough, flood the party with incoming money that the entire “centre” wing crawled to his doorstep on his knees, begging to write whatever bill he wanted. The effect of the big picture would be to add significant weight to the neoliberal side of the party scale, a powerful force trying to tilt the party away from its last fringes toward progressiveness, and toward seeing Democrats as a sober new company—a friendly counterbalance to the psychological grip of the Republicans’ maga.

Last month, Bernie Sanders sent a letter For his call on Joe Biden to stop awarding federal contracts to companies that violate federal labor law, notably by busting illegal unions. This simple move could take billions of dollars from Amazon, which – in the eyes of the labor-friendly NLRB, at least – is sinner Lots of illegal union busting. (Amazon disputes this.) It is also a great example of what can To be the Democrats’ new vision: Not the slick operators trying to arbitrage corporate campaign donations, but Labor, the party ready to take its rhetoric seriously about the dangers of rising economic inequality. The Democratic response to the rise of the lunatics on the right need not be to try to lure Republican donors away; Instead, democrats can become true populists, those who stand on the side of workers against the power of capital. (The Republican version of populism, which mostly means “prepare to wear a John Deere hat while you say racist things,” pales in comparison.)

Look, I’d love to see one of the world’s richest men spend his precious time grumbling on Twitter. It’s time he doesn’t break unions or invent aggressive new algorithms to monetize our lives, and besides, I know time spent on Twitter will make him miserable, which I support. But I’m here to warn you that this is a very bad omen. The last thing we need is for Jeff Bezos to turn himself into the biggest power broker in the Democratic Party. Just keep playing with your missiles, Jeff. The further you are off the ground, the better for everyone.

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