Bezos and White House battle over taxes and inflation

·2 min read

WASHINGTON, May 16 (Reuters) - The White House on Monday attacked Jeff Bezos for comments criticizing President Joe Biden for saying his plan to tax the rich would lower consumer costs, as a war of words between the Amazon.com Inc founder and the administration escalated.

Bezos posted tweets over the weekend accusing Biden of misleading the public and blaming his administration for a spike in inflation, saying they "tried hard to inject even more stimulus into an already over-heated, inflationary economy and only (Senator Joe) Manchin saved them from themselves."

White House spokesperson Andrew Bates responded in a statement that "it doesn't require a huge leap to figure out why one of the wealthiest individuals on Earth opposes an economic agenda for the middle class that cuts some of the biggest costs families face, fights inflation for the long haul, and adds to the historic deficit reduction the president is achieving by asking the richest taxpayers and corporations to pay their fair share."

The back-and-forth ratcheted up the war of words between the White House and one of the world's richest men after Biden attacked Amazon for paying too little in taxes and appeared to side with workers seeking to unionize the company.

"It's also unsurprising that this tweet comes after the President met with labor organizers, including Amazon employees," Bates added.

Biden has been under growing pressure to stem inflation, and some economists think that raising certain taxes could ease price pressures in the economy.

The president wants to hike levies on corporations and billionaires, but his tax and spending plans have fallen short of securing the necessary support in Congress, including from Manchin, a critical swing vote.

"Raising corp taxes is fine to discuss," Bezos wrote. "Taming inflation is critical to discuss. Mushing them together is just misdirection."

(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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