According to The Wall Street Journal, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has reportedly just bought the most expensive property in Los Angeles from David Geffen, another unimaginably wealthy man, for $165 million. (It’s the Warner Estate, which spreads out over nine acres in Beverly Hills.) That’s a wild amount of money for anything — I mean, aside from a 747? — but especially for a place you might presumably live in. (Bezos spent around $80 million on a few New York apartments earlier this year, so it’s not clear where his five-foot, seven-inch frame will primarily reside.) For context, $165 million is an eighth of a percent of Bezos’ $131.9 billion net worth.
The Warner Estate was designed in the 1930s for Jack Warner, who was the former president of Warner Bros.; it took a decade to construct, and has terraces, guest houses, a tennis court, and a golf course. That’s a lot of house. Dang!
It is literally impossible to imagine just how rich the wealthiest people on the planet are. The difference between their bank accounts and yours — yes, you, the person reading this — is that they can spend the monthly interest on their holdings and buy things like airplanes and islands. It is probably important to note here that Amazon paid zero dollars in federal income tax on $11 billion in before-tax profit in 2018; this year, it will pay out $162 million on $13.3 billion in profit — a whopping 1.2 percent effective tax rate.
America has historically been ruled by men like this, who own corporations and utilities — Amazon Web Services, for example, is what a large portion of the web runs on — and that’s why you’ve probably paid more of your income in tax than Jeff Bezos ever has. I hope that the palace Bezos bought is comfortable, but I also hope it’s full of angry ghosts.
Correction: Amazon’s effective tax rate for 2019 is 1.2 percent, not 0.012 percent as previously stated. We regret the error.