Second-Richest Man Jeff Bezos Defends Oil Industry Price-Gouging

Progressives ripped billionaire Jeff Bezos for his latest defense of corporate profiteering over the weekend in which the Amazon founder and world’s second-richest person criticized a call by President Joe Biden for oil companies to lower the price of gasoline.

On Saturday, Bezos accused President Joe Biden of “misdirection” and ignorance “of basic market dynamic” in response to a tweet from the president which called on companies setting gasoline prices to “bring down the price you are charging.”

While Bezos’ comment sparked a sharp response from White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre — who said pump prices remaining constant despite a steep drop in crude oil prices isn’t “basic market dynamics” but rather “a market that is failing the American consumer” — progressive critics also jumped into the fray.

Warren Gunnels is a long-standing aide of Senator Bernie Sanders. He currently serves the Majority staff Director for U.S. Senate Budget Committee. In response to the back and forth between the White House & Bezos, Gunnels offered a comparative rundown of the current price of gasoline compared to what it was in 2014.

“Ouch,” said Gunnels, mocking Bezos. “Gas prices soared because of Big Oil’s greed. We need a tax on windfall profits.

Gunnels responded earlier to Gunnels’ statement pointing out the enormous profits Amazon has made during the pandemic despite the fact that the retail giant raised prices for consumers. Gunnels also launched a vigorous anti-union campaign against employees who were organizing for better wages.

“Ouch,” tweeted Gunnels. “Amazon falsely blamed inflation on a 17% price hike on a Prime membership after its profit skyrocketed 453% since the pandemic while avoiding $5 billion in taxes, paying union busters $375 an hour and denying workers paid sick leave. The problem is corporate greed, boss.”

An analysis was done in May detailed how large oil and gas companies have used soaring profits — up 155% in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the year previous — to reward their shareholders and executives instead of offering relief to consumers.

As Common Dreams reported Sunday, such soaring profits by oil giants like Exxon Mobil have bolstered the continued call for a windfall profits tax — the revenue of which would be returned to consumers as a way to reduce the pain experienced at the pump. The Biden administration has so far not embraced this progressive demand.

Richard D. Wolff, an economist and professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst suggested that Gunnels had it right.

“Bezos scared,” Wolff responded Use social media. “If supply less than demand markets raise prices (so too suppliers’ profits). Oil suppliers should know this and use it. Gov’t could cut prices, take over oil suppliers. Bezos fears same applies to Amazon ‘services.’ So wants to stop discussion.”