I remember watching an interview with Jeff Bezos in the mid to late 1990s. He was a guy looking to sell books online from a warehouse in Seattle.
Times have changed.
(From The American Spectator)
Amazon — like Tesla — is becoming a crony capitalist operation that depends on government more than the free market. But the scale of Amazon’s rent-seeking dwarfs anything Tesla has managed so far.
For example, Amazon Web Services is on the verge of landing a ten-year Department of Defense contract for Cloud Storage of government data worth $10 billion.
To put that in perspective, Tesla has only lost about $5 billion so far — over the past 15 years.
The DoD contract is also “winner take all,” which would mean that all the Pentagon’s cloud-stored data would be under Amazon’s control — and on the taxpayers’ nickel.
Lots of nickels.
According to an investigative report in the Wall Street Journal, Bezos has a lobbying operation in DC that’s bigger and better-funded than Walmart and Exxon Mobil. He has 100 full time lobbyists beating the bushes on behalf of Amazon and spent some $13 million on glad-handing the government last year alone — a five-fold increase over what it spent on lobbying circa 2013.
This investment has paid off handsomely.