Downing: Bezos saw the graffiti on the wall in Seattle, and he’s heading for a better tax climate



Jeff Bezos, the titan of e-commerce and one of the wealthiest individuals on the planet, says he is moving from Seattle to Florida.

He explains it is to be closer to his aging parents, but let’s face it — a guy like Bezos can hop on his private jet and fly south to Miami anytime he has a need or desire to get out of the hellscape that Seattle has become.

The truth is, Washington state policies are driving businesses and billionaires out of Seattle’s urban core. Bezos won’t be the last to leave.

Billionaires are not the only ones unhappy with Seattle. Last week, the Seattle Times reported that 21% of Seattle young adults have been medicated for depression and anxiety. 

In another recent survey, Seattle ranked No. 1 for the blues, with the percentage of adults having feelings of depression ranging from 41% to 48%. It’s the nation’s saddest city, and that’s saying a lot, considering Portland, Oregon’s collective melancholy just down Interstate 5.

How did this happen, in a metropolis that seems to have everything? The Emerald City has exciting high-tech jobs, a great food scene, an arts community, boating, skiing, the great outdoors right out the back door, distinct neighborhoods and universities galore. It has the sixth-highest wages of any major city in America, right up there with Boston and San Francisco. 

It also has a socialist-leaning government.

Seattle Council member Kshama Sawant calls for rent strikes and writes that “in addition to rent control, we also need to tax the rich, and big businesses like Amazon to fund a massive expansion of social housing (publicly- owned, permanently-affordable homes) and to fully fund homeless services.” 

Bezos is not immune to socialist, anti-free-market policies, even though he lives in the distinctly elite neighborhood of Medina, along the eastern shores of Lake Washington. It’s a quiet enclave where Bill Gates has his primary residence, and where blocks of high-tech billionaires have made their homes.

Medina is a world away from the decaying downtown of Seattle, ruled by junkies and criminals. In Medina, every car that enters the neighborhood has its license plate recorded by camera. That license plate goes into a database and police are alerted if a ne’er-do-well enters the land of the did-quite-wells. The sign into Media reads, “You Are Entering a 24 Hour Video Surveillance Area.” 

Nobody goes down Evergreen Point Road in Medina without being recorded by multiple cameras.

Meanwhile, across the bridge in Seattle, workers who take trains and buses to work are inhaling air that has been doused by meth and fentanyl. According to a recent university study, 100% of mass transit has detectable levels of meth.

Over the past month, one man was shot and another knifed on the metro train known as the Link. Now, security guards board at every stop and rotate through the cars, ensuring that passengers are safe, but also establishing that mass transit in Seattle needs so many guards that it’s hemorrhaging public funds. Fares will never keep up with that kind of overhead. 

In the 30 years since Bezos founded Amazon in his Seattle garage, the city has collapsed under the weight of increasingly socialistic leadership that prioritizes equity over safety. Even Amazon as a company can’t take it – it is moving 2,000 employees from downtown to Bellevue, across Lake Washington. 

Then there’s the tax burden in King County and Washington state in general. 

Bezos and his vast wealth are targets of a new wealth tax that the Washington Supreme Court just upheld, which takes 7% from every sale of financial assets such as stocks and bonds, applying to those who have profits of more than $250,000. 

After years of legal challenges, the “eat the rich” tax on the wealthy is happening. There is no doubt Bezos, with a net worth of $161 billion, took a cold, hard look at the realities of Washington state tax law. He stands to save billions over the coming decades in state taxes by using this one, simple trick: Becoming a visitor in Washington State, rather than a resident.

Washington will net about $849 million from this new tax in the first year alone. Surely Bezos has accountants who can find a tax loophole or two, but at some point, the government skimming operation takes its toll, and the rich do have choices.

Defenders of the wealth tax say it is not an income tax at all, but an “excise tax.”

It’s a tax on those who earn a living through buying and selling of assets, which is the way many wealthy people do, indeed, make a living.

Bezos’ motivation is not that much different from Donald Trump’s, when he pulled up stakes from New York and became a Florida resident in 2019 for a better tax climate and year-round golf.

Alan Greenspan was spot on when he said, “Whatever you tax, you get less of.” If you tax billionaires, you’ll have fewer of them to kick around during the next tax cycle. Washington State will be learning this lesson the hard way.

Suzanne Downing is the founder, past president, and current managing editor of Must Read Alaska.


  1. Socialism is bad, and leads to many ills and woes within our communities. But socialism is grounded in the rejection of God and an objective moral order, which is the true root of chaos in our society.

    Anxiety, depression, crime, etc are merely symptoms of moral decay.

    Unless we reject to corrosive notions that truth is relative, God does not exist, and there is no objective moral order to which our lives should conform, we will not reject socialism and our country will continue to sink into the chaos that leads to despair.

    We cannot continue to think we are sounding the alarm by decrying “leftist policies,” “left-leaning government,” and “socialism,” while ignoring the rejection of God within our hearts, our homes, our families, our cities, our states, and our nation that has plunged our communities into chaos and despair.

    Let us return to the life-nurturing hope that springs from a well-ordered life grounded in Christ Who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Thereby, our communities will be healed, strengthened, and uplifted.

    • NotAnymore: Is your God involved in the Hamas/lsraeal massacres? Is he showing the innocent victims The Way and Truth? Will truth matter to the dead?

      Your arrogance is as overwhelming as it is unsupportable.

      • Spoken as only someone totally devoid of faith, purpose, and any sense of intellectual curiosity could.

        Show us on the doll where Christianity hurt you.

        The truth always matters except to people like you.

        • MA I’ve spent my whole life being “intellectually curious “ and it has firmly landed me in the science camp. I’ve studied religion (especially Mormon) and find that it’s claims are unsupportable if one employs evidence, reason and the scientific method. If that route of inquiry doesn’t suit you, you can employ faith. But you’ll get two very different answers.

          When your snow blower won’t start this winter, will you check for fuel and spark or will you pray?

      • Sanctimonious: It bothers you that evil exists? God so loved the world that He gave us free will – that we would love Him freely. Evil action should drive us to seek God in prayer. God is involved in comforting and healing the victims. Evil comes from the hearts of men who turn their backs to God.

        • Rich. Your god’s free agency gift to humans is a dodge from the difficult question that’s been asked for millennia, why does an omnipotent loving god allow suffering?

          Free agency is an “oh well” response. Nothing can be done about these horrible people. It drives the faithful to seek an entirely ineffective course of action like, “ Evil action should drive us to seek God in prayer”. There is nothing so guaranteed to fail as prayer. It’s results can’t be proven. But the faithful don’t want or need verifiable evidence.

          • It does seem paradoxical that God’s permissive will would allow for evil in this world. But God created us with free will, and many choose not-God rather than God.

            Is the reality of human suffering sufficient evidence to prove that an all-good, all-loving God does not exist?

            Faith in God is a gift. And, while His existence may not be empirically verifiable through scientific experimentation, His existence can be proven through reason -that is, the existence of a Prime Mover, an Uncaused Cause.

            His attributes as all-good and all-loving have come to us through revelation, and we believe in them through the gift of faith.

            Faith and reason are parallel -they do not cause one or the other and they do not contradict one another.

            I count myself among those who allow both faith and reason to inform my thinking and the way I live my life. Others who did the same are household names throughout Western civilization: Roger Bacon (developed the scientific method), Nicholas Corpernicus (heliocentrism), Louis Pastuer (viruses, vaccines), and Gregor Mendel (genetics).

            -And that’s just the short list! We are in good company. I hope you’ll re-consider joining us. The prospect of enjoying Eternal Beatitude aside, allowing both faith and reason to inform your life makes it waaaaaaay more interesting!

  2. Anchorage is not immune! Standing in a pharmacy line I struck up a conversation with two residents. Both agree they are sick of Anchorage’s’ liberal elite. All there of us are planning to move from this crime ridden, high taxing city with poor schools. All of us agreed we’d never thought when we moved here we’d come to hate it!

  3. Running away from problems he with Washington democrat leaders created.

    I think unless Alaskans smarten up and seek God, our state is headed following how Washington is seeking to close its budget gaps by taxing its income earners to death. Current state leadership both Republican and Democrats are waiting until PFD and the reserves are all dried up until they can begin Washington’s model. Cause taxes is all I hear Alaskans talking about we need more taxes to fund “essential services” using public safety, fire, education, infrastructure, roads as their excuse to justify for taking the pfd, depleting the states savings accounts, and add more taxes.

    I can’t worry how I will survive. I know God takes care of his own. If he moves me and my family away from the Northwest, then so be it. He’ll place opportunities in the paths of his children.

      • Amuse me. How is this childish? And note: I’m not a fan of hers so it should be easy for you.

        The main childishness I see here is your ongoing hissy fit about things you are incapable of understanding.

        But I respect your right to be ignorant and revel in it.

        • Jen is giving in to her Heavenly Father when she abdicates her responsibility for her life. Sort of like a child relying on a parent.

  4. The NW is uniquely beautiful with an interesting history. It welcomes experts but has been overwhelmed by the woke social trends. They are out of favor and everyone is tired of the foolishness. The medical environment went too far into the pandemic and lost ground in just the basics of medical care (are those egress doors wide enough for emergency evacuation, what do you mean no one here is the staff administer right now, and no we cannot treat one more emergency on this floor) etc. The sophistication of the medical work arounds are jaw dropping but not in a good way. Conservative thought cannot arrive too soon, green hair notwithstanding.

  5. People & businesses leaving these excessively high taxed areas of the country will become intolerable for the progressives. There will soon be efforts to prevent businesses & people from leaving by imposing penalty exit taxes which will be very onerous. Or efforts to impose federal, nationwide such taxes via states joining together in co-operative compact agreements so there will be no escape. And the federal government will encourage these by withholding federal funds from those jurisdictions & states that will not play ball. Biden & the UN already have a head start, recall the worldwide corporate tax agreement.

    In the days of the Soviet Union you didn’t just travel anytime you wanted. Everything was managed for the good of the state.

  6. Mr. Bezos has been very pragmatic about going where his businesses are treated best. I think we should all do this and where regions are unequivocally racist or working to extinguish one or one’s businesses (restaurants, bed and breakfasts lodging, having a closed medical society, etc.) moving is absolutely best.

  7. Please tell the socialists (communists, really) in the Alaska Legislature that the Alaska economy we have today is without a personal income tax. An income tax would not help the economy, it would just create more government when we already have more state and local government than out state output of goods and services is already too small. Productive people, and those who hope to be successful would continue to move from Alaska.

    When Alaska oil production was 400 percent higher than it is today we had a population only half as large, and the number of people on the dole and/or working for state government was considerably less than half as large as it is today. State economists would be reporting those kind of statistics but they answer to their union rather than to their employer.

    For some Legislators and a few long-time staffers all roads lead to a state income tax. It’s the same for the Alaska Municipal League, public employee unions, the University of Alaska, and many municipal assemblies. They have coded language and phrases such as “the Alaska disconnect.”

    Bezos is moving to FL rather than to AK, and we have no one to compare with Bezos. But a state income tax would defeat and drive from Alaska everyone who dreams of creating the next Amazon, Tesla or drone assembly plant.

  8. You attack Seattle in order to distract people from Anchorage, your own wretched city, that lets scores of homeless freeze to death out in the cold.

    What’s the body count so far this year?

    • How many homeless have you taken into your home if they are freezing to death out there.
      Oh just like I thought, complain that everyone else is doing it wrong while you havent stepped up to the plate to do anything.
      Mayor Bronson did all he could to get real help they need but the needy greedy dirtband of ASSembly members werent having any solution of his be successful…. So I guess they get to freeze to death.
      Are the bodybags stacked like cordwood as they were during the scamdemic as they were in true blue NYC

      • Doesn’t get that cold in Anchorage if your from a Village or Fbks . Lots of free help in downtown Anchorage . Amazed at the amount of homeless or should I say unsheltered while driving around this summer . Most appeared to be villagers . I wonder if they head home in winter . They do in Fairbanks .

        Don’t see as many homeless in the valley . I think it’s proportionate to the size of the city governments ? Smaller the city government , smaller the problem .

        What amazes me in Seattle , four of the richest guys in the world live there . With in five miles of their homes , total mess of humanity . It’s all connected . I believe their success has helped cause the cancer growing in downtown Seattle . They sure have not done anything to thwart it by using their wealth they created . In fact it’s caused the real estate prices to go sky high and the money collected to property taxes has made it worse ! Like I said “ bigger the city govt , bigger the homeless issue “!

  9. And by the way, the new capital gains tax in Washington State is all used to fund education. Up North, where your cup runneth over with Permanent Fund dollars, education is starved for funding and derided on a daily basis here on Must Read Alaska. One wonders if the such derision will continue under the New Management, who hails from the Ivy League.

  10. Bezos is part of a new class of people – internal refugees. The ultra wealthy can move wherever they want so if they help turn a once nice area into what Puget Sound has become they just move and leave everyone else to deal with the mess they made.

  11. “ Alan Greenspan was spot on when he said, “Whatever you tax, you get less of.” ”…. Perhaps we should tax homelessness and public intoxication. And by the reflexive axiom perhaps we shouldn’t tax income or wealth so we get more of it. 🤔🤔🤔

  12. Best idea I’ve heard is to put the Fish&Game in charge of the homeless . They’ll be none left after they get done studying it to death . Just like moose population in the interior . Managed it out of existence .


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