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Back on Earth, here’s how some people are reacting to Bezos’s trip to space

Mark Bezos, left, and Jeff Bezos, right, founder of Amazon and space tourism company Blue Origin, watch a video playback of their flight experience from the spaceport near Van Horn, Texas, Tuesday, July 20, 2021.Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

As Jeff Bezos was launched into space on Tuesday, people back on Earth had plenty to say about his trip, with many critical of his company’s business practices and Bezos’ own personal fortune.

For some, the billionaire’s space trip has become a flashpoint in the debate over vast concentrations of wealth among a privileged few. According to an analysis by ProPublica, the 25 richest Americans were worth $1.1 trillion by the end of 2018, their wealth equivalent to that of 14.3 million American wage-earners.

With an estimated net worth of more than $200 billion, Bezos currently ranks as the richest person on the planet. Despite his large wealth, Bezos paid no income tax in 2007 and 2011, joining other wealthy men with small or nonexistent income tax bills including Elon Musk, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg. Overall, the richest 25 Americans pay less in tax — an average of 15.8 percent of adjusted gross income — than many ordinary workers do, once you include taxes for Social Security and Medicare, according to the same ProPublica investigation.


Some, like Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, criticized Amazon’s treatment of its workers as well as its anti-union efforts. In April, Amazon defeated the biggest union push in the company’s history with Amazon warehouse workers in Alabama overwhelmingly voting against unionization.

Others celebrated the successful first human flight of New Shepard and the breakthrough moment for the space tourism sector.

Maria Elena Little Endara can be reached at mariaelena.littleendara@globe.com.