Sen. Elizabeth Warren says billionaires have 'enough money to shoot themselves into space' because they don't pay taxes

Sen. Elizabeth Warren says billionaires have 'enough money to shoot themselves into space' because they don't pay taxes
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on September 28, 2021. Patrick Semansky-Pool/Getty Images
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren criticized the ultra-rich for traveling to space but not paying their taxes.
  • On "The View," Warren discussed Biden's spending package that would increase investments in healthcare and climate.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday criticized wealthy Americans who have ventured into outer space but haven't paid their taxes on Earth.

In an interview with "The View" on ABC, the Massachusetts senator discussed President Joe Biden's trillion-dollar legislative plan, saying that Democrats want to make the ultra-rich pay higher taxes to help cover its costs.

"The money is going to come from the billionaires who don't pay their taxes and therefore have enough money to shoot themselves into space," Warren said.

"It's going to come from giant corporations like Amazon," she continued.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the second richest person in the world, in July flew to the edge of space on a rocket built by his space company, Blue Origin. The move prompted criticism. Before his journey, more than 185,000 people signed petitions not to allow Bezos to return to Earth.


"Billionaires should not exist ... on earth, or in space, but should they decide the latter they should stay there," one petition's description read.

Bezos did not pay federal income taxes in 2007 and 2011, according to a bombshell report of IRS documents published by ProPublica in June. Amazon also paid no federal taxes in 2017 and 2018. Over the years, the billionaire has since his wealth increase, with a current net worth over $190 billion.

The world's richest person, Elon Musk, likewise saw his wealth grow but paid a small amount in taxes, according to the ProPublica report. From 2014 to 2018, Musk's wealth increased by $13.9 billion, but he reported only $1.52 billion worth of taxable income to the IRS. Comparing the $455 million he paid in taxes to his wealth gains, ProPublica said Musk paid a "true tax rate" of 3.27%.

Musk also has his own space company, SpaceX. He has not traveled to space yet, but has paid for a ticket for a future flight on Virgin Galactic, a company founded by fellow billionaire Richard Branson.

Democrats have blasted big companies and the ultra-wealthy for avoiding taxes and for not paying what they describe as their "fair share" in taxes.


"I'm sick and tired of the super-wealthy and giant corporations not paying their fair share in taxes," Biden tweeted last month. "It's time for it to change."

Biden's spending package would increase investments in education, healthcare, childcare, and climate, aiming to boost the working class of the country. But negotiations are ongoing as the Democratic party's progressives and moderates remain divided over elements of the plan.

"Nobody is going to get everything they want - and that includes all the senators," Warren said, alluding to Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, who have opposed the size and the scope of the package.

"I want the folks on the other side to put on the table what they don't want," she added.