Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, the two richest men in the world, are racing for space. But for the past few months, they have also been competing for the best opponent to Joe Biden. Mr. Musk, the boss of Tesla left with a head start, furious that the Democratic president did not mention his company when he mentioned electric vehicles on the pretext that Tesla does not have unions. In May, the entrepreneur had even accused him of not really being in charge: “The real president is the one who controls the teleprompter”.
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, catches up on a major topic, inflation and gas prices. Before the long weekend of July 4, the American national holiday, Joe Biden tried to appease Americans, furious that the price of gasoline reached 5 dollars (4.90 euros) per gallon (3.8 liters ): “My message to companies that operate gas stations and set prices at the pumps is simple: This is a time of war and global peril. Reduce the price you charge at the pump to reflect the cost you pay for the product. And do it now. » Jeff Bezos’ response was immediate: “Inflation is far too big an issue for the White House to continue making statements like that. This is either an attempt at diversion or a deep misunderstanding of basic market dynamics. »
The Association of American Oil and Gas Producers wielded a somewhat disrespectful irony: “We are working on it, Mr. President. In the meantime, have a happy 4th of July and make sure the White House intern who posted this tweet enrolls in the basic economics course for the fall start…”
“Margins not acceptable”
The causes of inflation are multiple, but the public debate crystallizes on the price of gasoline. After accusing Vladimir Putin of a surge in prices that predated the invasion of Ukraine, Joe Biden is now questioning the margins of oil producers. “In times of war, the historically high refinery profit margins passed directly to American families are not acceptable”the president said in a letter to oil companies, including Exxon Mobil and Chevron, urging them to “take immediate action to increase the supply of gasoline”.
The tenant of the White House, who refuses all responsibility in a phenomenon that he at least partially triggered with his recovery plan, accuses companies of cartelization and excessive profits. Economist Larry Summers, former director of the Treasury of Bill Clinton, who first warned of the return of inflation, sweeps away this argument: “The rhetoric about inflation caused by corporate abuse is ridiculous”he said in May, recalling that “the overly expansionary macroeconomic policy of the Federal Reserve and the government has contributed to inflation”.
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