Thursday, 21 Jan 2021

Trump swipes at Jeff Bezos saying 'there's too much income disparity' in the US

Donald Trump’s long-running spat with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos continued this week after the US president took yet another swipe at his richer rival’s wealth.

Trump shared a clip showing how tech billionaires’ fortunes have rocketed during the president’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, saying there was ‘too much income disparity’ in the US.

The Business Insider video charts how billionaires grew increasingly wealthy during the pandemic, which has thrown 40 million Americans into unemployment.

Trump said ‘changes must be made, and soon’ although when his government made $349billion available to small businesses for the Covid-19 relief, $243million of the fund went to large corporations, a post from Business Insider later reported.

The clip shared by Trump shows how Mr Bezos, the world’s richest man and first person to ever be worth more than $100 billion, saw his enormous wealth swell by $48 billion between March and June.

During the same period, Zoom CEO Eric Yuan, whose video conferencing platform became a symbol of home working, saw his income increase by $2.5billion. Former Microsoft boss and current owner of the NBA’s LA Clippers, Steve Ballmer, made an extra $15.7 billion. 

During the height of the coronavirus pandemic, the US’s richest people made an extra $637 billion, according to Business Insider figures.

Sharing the video to his Twitter followers, the president said: ‘I actually agree with this. Too much income disparity! Changes must be made, and soon!’ 

The president and Mr Bezos, who also bought the Washington Post for $250 million, have a long-running feud.

Trump has taken repeated aim at the Post, among others, who have held him to scrutiny.

For years, Trump has attacked Mr Bezos on Twitter with claims that have often proven false, about how Amazon benefitted from billions of dollars in subsidies from the US Postal Service.

Last year the president asked: ‘Is Fake News Washington Post being used as a lobbyist weapon against Congress to keep Politicians from looking into Amazon no-tax monopoly?’ 

Politi-fact debunked the postal service myth concluding Amazon was ‘in fact contributing to its biggest growth sector, package delivery. Deals like the one with Amazon brought in $7billion in fiscal year 2017.’

As for the paper being used as a ‘lobbying tool’, The Guardian reported that both Bezos and the Post deny the billionaire mogul has ever attempted to ‘meddle in the paper’s editorial coverage’. 

Editor Marty Baron told the New York Times: ‘I can’t say more emphatically he’s never suggested a story to anybody here, he’s never critiqued a story, he’s never suppressed a story. Frankly, in a newsroom of 800 journalists, if that had occurred, I guarantee you, you would have heard about it.’

In the US there is growing pressure to finalise a fourth stimulus package after the government’s $600 per week unemployment benefits ended this week.

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