The world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, thanked his employees and customers Tuesday for subsidizing his Blue Origin spaceflight.
Bezos and three others, younger brother Mark Bezos, 82-year-old aviation pioneer Mary Wallace "Wally" Funk and Dutch teenager Oliver Daemen, spent 11 minutes inside a capsule after blasting off from Van Horn County, Texas, desert. The “New Shepard” capsule, named for the first American in space Alan Shepard, took off on the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing and reached an altitude of 66 miles.
Upon returning to earth, Bezos said, “[I] want to thank every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer because you guys paid for all this. So seriously, for every Amazon customer out there, and every Amazon employee, thank you from the bottom of my heart, very much. It’s very appreciated.”
Bezos was ripped by critics for his thanking customers for subsidizing the reported $5.5 billion cost of the flight.
Journalist David Choi retweeted video of Bezos’ comments, adding “I’d like a refund.”
Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., tweeted that Bezos “forgot to thank all the hardworking Americans who actually paid taxes to keep this country running while he and Amazon paid nothing,” and called for a wealth tax.
Assistant House Speaker Katherine Clark, also a Massachusetts Democrat, said that “[Y]ou don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know it’s time for billionaires to pay their fair share.”
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