The White House retaliated on Monday against Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who had slammed President Joe Biden in a series of tweets over the weekend for his comments on inflation.
“You want to drive down inflation?” Biden tweeted on Friday, without mentioning Amazon. Let us ensure that the richest firms pay their fair share.”
In response to Biden’s tweet, Bezos accused him of “misdirection,” claiming that there is no link between inflation and corporation taxation. “Raising corporation taxes is fine to discuss,” Bezos stated. Inflation control is an important topic to debate. Putting them together is a ruse.”
In April, consumer inflation increased at a faster-than-expected 8.3%, exceeding the 8.1 percent Dow Jones forecast and approaching the highest level in more than 40 years.
In a tweet on Sunday, Bezos chastised the Biden administration’s attitude to inflation. He said that the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which Biden signed into law in March, was a factor in the rise in inflation. Bezos also stated that the poor suffer the most from inflation.
Bezos, the world’s second-richest person, would oppose Biden’s proposal to raise taxes on the ultra-rich and companies, according to White House spokesperson Andrew Bates.
“This tweet comes after the President spoke with labor organizers, including Amazon employees,” Bates said in a statement.
In a tweet, Bezos reacted to the White House statement, accusing the Biden administration of attempting to “muddy the topic.”
“They understand that inflation disproportionately affects the poor,” Bezos wrote. “However, neither unions nor wealthy people are responsible for inflation.”
Biden met with labor activists earlier this month, including Chris Smalls, the president of Amazon Labor Union, a grassroots group that succeeded in organizing an Amazon warehouse on Staten Island in April, making it the e-commerce company’s first union in the United States.
This is Bezos and Biden’s first public spat. During his tenure in government, former President Donald Trump regularly targeted Bezos. Trump chastised Amazon for using the USPS and wrongly claimed that Bezos’ newspaper, The Washington Post, is a “lobbyist” for the online retailer.
While Biden did not particularly mention Amazon in his tweet on Friday, he has previously questioned the company’s tax history. Amazon has reaped significant tax benefits, paying no federal income taxes in 2017 and 2018. Given his great wealth, Bezos, who stepped down as Amazon CEO last year, has become a regular target in Democrats’ concerns of wealth disparity in the United States.
Biden has recently expressed support for Amazon’s unionization efforts. “The choice to join a union belongs to workers alone,” he said during a presentation to a trade union national congress. By the way, Amazon, we’re on our way.”