Why all the hate for Branson and Bezos, and their forays into space travel?

I don’t disagree that we should tax the living shit out of billionaires, but as long as a guy’s got even half a billion dollars he can hitch multiple tourist rides on a Soyuz (for something like $25 million per flight, I think).

I do, and if someone buys something from the Amazon store that’s mostly located in my second bedroom, a percentage of that money does go to Amazon. What I avoid, if possible (and it isn’t always), is ordering something that’s labeled “Fulfilled By Amazon.” THOSE orders are filled with the above-mentioned borderline slave labor.

It’s their money…I don’t care how they spend it. I think it’s cool.

I try to avoid buying from Amazon if there’s another source. The last time I bought an item from Amazon was around 2 years ago.

I can only speak for myself. Hate is too strong a word but here is why it turns me off. It’s not because I think they should be spending their money any other particular thing that happens to be my own pet cause. It’s the ostentatious display of ego and wealth.

  1. Three guys in a race to see who has the biggest dick in space. Reminds of when Larry Ellison had to have a bigger yacht than Steve Ballmer.
  2. Three guys who are not emphasizing investing in space infrastructure, they are emphasizing that they are taking rides
  3. Press conference today by Bezos to say, oh, what an awesome experience it is, as if he were a fucking hero for having that experience, like he was Alan Shephard.

I’m in favor of taxing the wealthy, but I don’t get the hate on these sorts of activities. The hundreds of millions of dollars, or whatever the amount is (it actually doesn’t matter what the number is) is being redistributed. That money is being payed to the engineers who designed the rockets, the mathematicians that made the calculations for the trajectories of their flights, the pilots that flew the things, and so on down the line all the way to the people who work the assembly lines that produced all the different parts used in the rockets. The goal is, IMHO, redistribution of the wealth. If some wealthy billionaire gets some enjoyment out their contribution, why should we begrudge them the pleasure? Same thing when Jerry Jones or Daniel Snyder or Robert Kraft buy a mega yacht. That money Is going to the people who make yachts rather than staying in their bank accounts. In the end, it means that the redistribution will continue, rather than those billionaires doing the modern equivalent of hiding their money under the mattress.

It’s been years since one of their trucks delivered to my house but I might order a commemorative Bezos space cowboy hat or maybe a space condom emblazoned with an image of the ship. I am wondering if his future billionaire clientele shops on Amazon or do their assistants do it for them.

I have no problems with Bezos spending his money but he could up the wages of his employees a smidge without going all Carl Marx on himself.

He said it best himself: “I want to thank every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer because you guys paid for all of this,”

Amen, brother.

My main objection is the environmental cost of these flights. It requires an enormous amount of energy (fuel) and materials to make these really brief flights. I don’t care how these folks spend their money if it doesn’t have such huge negative environmental impacts.

Right. So corrupt politicians can dole it out in contracts and cushy well-payed positions for their political allies. They earned the money creating services that make the lives of many people better.

They may be selfish, despicable assholes, but they are no Koch brothers.

My BFF and his family live in Kansas, and one of their early 20s sons had an opportunity to do a summer internship at Koch Industries. Although it paid quite well, he was told by several people who didn’t know each other that having this on a CV could be a hindrance to future job opportunities.

And that’s supposed to be worse? At least I can vote out a corrupt politician. What’s my option if I don’t want to live in a country that’s run according to the whims of untouchable oligarchs?

Who’s the third guy here? Musk? Musk isn’t going into space himself, at least not for a long time, and certainly isn’t taking joyrides. And even if you think his Mars plans are ridiculous, he’s already saved NASA and the DoD a huge amount of money via low cost reusable rockets, and is hell-bent on building the fully-reusable Starship. All that counts as investing in space infrastructure.

The Branson and Bezos vehicles are throwaway. They can’t be evolved into orbital vehicles. SpaceX on the other hand launched almost as much mass to orbit as all other providers combined in 2020.

Also, Branson’s little space program has killed four people so far. Thankfully, both Blue Origin and SpaceX take safety a little more seriously.

I don’t think Bezos knows how to wear a cowboy hat.

I don’t get the hate either. I think it’s great. The haters cannot see the big picture. This sort of activity leads to all sorts of technical advancements, some of which really might lead to ending hunger. The haters’ ancestors probably decried the advent of aviation as well.

I’m wondering when the first major space disaster will happen involving one of these forays though. Thinking of starting a pool.

How much of the thing is actually his? AFAIK, Virgin just bought the design from Burt Rutan, didn’t they? Other than scale up the size, Virgin hasn’t really done anything.

Top men!

Interestingly, Virgin Galactic claims that Musk has bought a ticket on a space ride with them. OK, I retract my original statement and restate as “two guys.” Musk is doing real stuff. I do think the idea of colonizing other planets to preserve the human race is bonkers, but there are solid practical results coming out of Musk’s space efforts. The market seems to agree, valuing SpaceX at about $74 billion.

The problems go beyond just not being “productive members of society”; Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, Elon Musk, et cetera go to great lengths to minimize the amount of money they pay in taxes to the extent that if they pay anything it is all it is a much lower effective percentage than the average middle class person, and yet these billionaires are only able to pursue these space ‘endeavors’ and run their businesses on technologies predicated on trillions of dollars of public investment; not only the money spent directly on space technologies by the Department of Defense and NASA but nearly all propulsion, advanced materials, computing, the Global Positioning System and ground telemetry systems, space habitation and physiology research, et cetera. Literally the entire technological basis for the ability to send people into space is a direct result of public investment in propulsion and space technology, and yet these guys will not even pay the nominal tax rate that people working at an Amazon warehouse have to pay. That they also often behave like spoilt, tempestuous children when called out on this or (in Musk’s case) for dissembling and manipulating the stock market is just further indication for how little they care about any actual contribution back to the society that has funded their hobbies.

And please spare me the rationale that they are job creators, or these programs are developing and advancing new technologies that will shower humankind with vast riches, or whatever other ‘trickle-down economics’ rationale; space tourism and Musk’s risible plan to build Mars into a ‘backup planet’ once we trash this one are not materially contributing to any real advances that will further space development or benefit society as a whole; ‘space tourism’, and particularly suborbital flights of a few minutes duration is not a viable industry that can be sustained outside of spurious investment by the ultra-wealthy; and quite frankly these people do not give a fuck for benefitting anyone beyond themselves and their narcissistic desires to be ‘space tycoons’.

There are actual areas of development that might be useful in developing space technologies for long term benefit of humanity such as advances in Earth observation, space weather surveillance, infrastructure and technologies for extracting and processing material resources to support industry and eventual habitation in space, and of course the scientific endeavors of planetary exploration and astrophysical research, but all of that work, such as it occurring under marginal and inconsistent levels of support, is being entirely funded by the public purse into which these billionaires are using every loophole and favorable tax regulations that they have lobbied for to avoid paying into. For all of the whinging from the ultra-wealthy libertarian-Randian contingent about how the ‘socialists’ will bleed the public dry with their demands for maintenance of public infrastructure, basic health care, public education, and a legally mandated actual living wage, they are the biggest parasites of all, manifestly benefitting from decades of public investment that supports both their businesses and hobbies and then strenuously avoiding paying even a nominally ‘fair’ amount of their earnings back into the public pot.

Fuck these guys and their auras of self-importance and ‘genius’ that their PR flacks have gotten the general public to buy into.