What do billionaires actually know about the economy?
Some Democrats have a sneer at the top businessmen in the country, as if they’re just brats popping up about things they know nothing about. For example, President Biden has gotten into a silly sniping contest with Amazon (AMZN) founder Jeff Bezos, who has repeatedly rejected Biden’s statements about inflation. Unfortunately, Bezos is right.
On July 2, Biden posted a tweet are begging petrol producers and gas stations to voluntarily cut prices. In a capitalist economy, that’s just stupid. Bezos must have had a dull holiday weekend, as he promptly responded to Biden’s tweet by saying, “It’s either a direct deception or a profound misunderstanding of fundamental market dynamics.” So now we have Biden saying something stupid and one of the world’s eminent business builders is calling him out. Curious!
If this develops like other Biden-Bezos tweets, the White House press corps and his spokesmen will poke Biden about this for a few days, producing some cringy charges against Bezos for being a money-loving billionaire, which, you know, inherently bad. In May, after Bezos argued that Biden’s legislative agenda would exacerbate inflation, a White House spokesman called Bezos “one of the wealthiest individuals on Earth” who “is against a middle-class economic agenda and also unions.” . oooooh. Touche!
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Biden has a similar beef bro with Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk, calling Biden a “moist sock puppetin a tweet from January. Musk’s biggest complaint about Biden is that whenever Biden mentions electric vehicles, one of his favorite projects, Biden emphasizes the work of Ford (F) and General Motors (GM), and rarely mentions Tesla. Still, Tesla is years ahead of its Detroit rivals and arguably the most important EV maker in the world. Biden rejects Tesla because it is a non-union employer and because Musk himself is against unions. Biden has begrudgingly acknowledged Tesla’s EV dominance, but has also continually cast a shadow over Musk, such as his June comment that offered Musk “good luck” for a future trip to the moon.
Biden pretends he has nothing to learn from people who built some of the most valuable companies in the world. Really? To get an idea of how lost Biden and his team are on inflation, check out what Biden’s economic adviser Brian Deese said recently on CNN when asked what he has to say to Americans who can no longer afford to pay $4.85 for a gallon of gasoline. “This is about the future of the liberal world order,” Deese replied. “We must be steadfast.”
To translate, Deese said the high gas prices are a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and that the civilized world must enforce sanctions against Russia to ensure the barbarians do not win. But “liberal world order” is a phrase understood by fallopian tubes in Washington, DC, and nobody else. The word “liberal” in itself probably has negative connotations for millions of Americans who associate the word with Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton. If Democrats think they are the party of ordinary working people, they certainly aren’t talking. There is not a union manager in America who urges his supporters to go out and work hard for the liberal world order.
Deese is one of the smart people who should help Biden figure out what to do with $4.85 gas and 8.6% inflation. So far, bukkis. Biden needs far more help than Deese or any of the White House’s newly promoted policy experts have been able to provide, and the proof is Biden’s dismal approval rating, now just 39%.
Bezos has quite a reference. He built from scratch what is arguably the most dominant retailer in the world. People see Amazon as a marketplace, but its real specialty is logistics and supply chains. When COVID shook up the global economy, Amazon kept the flow of goods going. Guess what is still one of the main causes of inflation? Kinked supply chains and mismatches between supply and demand, such as the first 39 points on Bezos’ resume. Perhaps it’s not for nothing that Bezos is one of the richest people in the world.
Biden prides himself on his ability to work with Republicans who would destroy his presidency if they could and appear to be cheering in a conservative Supreme Court that is selectively revoking personal freedoms that Democrats hold dear. Yet Biden shuns any billionaire who opposes unions. There are certainly some “good” billionaires in Bidenworld, such as the dozens of ultra-wealthy Americans who helped Biden and his fellow Democrats rise to power in 2020. You don’t hear much about them. What you do hear is the liberal progressive wing of the party muttering over and over, “billionaires bad, billionaires bad,” as they prey on villains to exploit in a crippled class war that most Americans aren’t interested in.
Biden ran as a moderate when he won the presidency in 2020, which is why he defeated Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in the Democratic primary in the first place. But as president, he seems to have concluded that he can’t stand the same liberals as in 2020, so he can’t contact moguls like Bezos and Musk, although most Americans probably think it makes perfect sense.
Bezos is a kind of political coding, but his company, Amazon, is one of the most popular brands in the country, despite the company’s anti-union efforts. Musk may be an adolescent bomber, but his company, Tesla, has spawned a kind of brand loyalty that borders on fanatic. Both men are business geniuses who have created hundreds of thousands of jobs. And neither carries me-to-baggage or disqualifying behavior that we know of. If these are your enemies, you have chosen the wrong enemies.
Biden, meanwhile, needs friends. There is no policy solution in the democratic playbook of overly complex government solutions that will lower gas prices or lower inflation in the short term. The left would moan about union breakdown and tax avoidance if Biden ever met people like Bezos or Musk, but Biden might say they don’t agree on everything and he just listens to them. If Biden really learned something, he wouldn’t even have to admit it.
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