Democratic representative proposes days of tax on space tourism after first private flights


Days after Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos launched successful tourist flights to space, Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) proposed a tax on private space travel.

The Securing Carbon Emissions Protection Act (SPACE) would establish a new excise tax on commercial space flights carrying human passengers for purposes other than scientific research. The tax would be applied at two levels – the first for suborbital flights exceeding 50 miles above the Earth’s surface and the second for orbital flights exceeding 80 miles above the Earth’s surface.

In addition to calling the tourist expeditions a “tax-free vacation for the rich,” Blumenauer cited the effects on the climate as a particular concern.

Like a Press release of the legislator’s office explains:

As this nascent space tourism industry takes shape, Blumenauer is particularly concerned about the environmental impact of sending humans into space, especially when there is no scientific value associated with the launch. The number of space trips is expected to increase, with Virgin Galactic planning to eventually launch a passenger shuttle into space, on average every 32 hours.

While proponents of suborbital spaceflight indicate that transatlantic flights have a similar carbon footprint, these flights carry many more passengers and travel much further. The result is that space launches represent around 60 times more emissions than transatlantic flights per passenger, enough to drive a car around the earth and more than twice the carbon budget recommended in the Paris Climate Agreement.

“Just as normal Americans pay taxes when they buy plane tickets, billionaires who fly in space to produce nothing of scientific value should do the same, and then some,” Blumenauer said in the statement. . “I am not opposed to this type of spatial innovation. However, things which are done solely for tourism or entertainment, and which have no scientific purpose, should in turn support the public good. “

In response to a proposal from Blumenauer, energy expert and founder of the Center for Industrial Progress Alex epstein noted that while “the rise of the commercial space industry is a truly exciting development that we should celebrate”, policymakers seek to “plunder this new industry”.

Epstein added that Blumenauer and “other potential looters in the commercial space industry” are using carbon dioxide emissions as a front to crack down on the industry.

“We should move away from space innovators so that they can bring the benefits of space travel – including the wonders of space tourism – to the masses,” he noted. “I know I sure wish I could afford space travel.”

Blumenauer isn’t the only Democrat in Congress to criticize billionaire space expeditions.

As The daily thread reported last month, TMZ cornered Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) at Reagan National Airport and asked her about “the richest man in the world who joined the first crewed flight in space for his aerospace company, Blue Origin “. Warren lambasted Bezos for allegedly neglecting to pay his taxes.

“Look, he makes fun of every person in America who actually paid taxes,” Warren said. “Jeff Bezos’ trip to space is funded by all the other American taxpayers who have paid their taxes so Jeff Bezos doesn’t have to. And Jeff Bezos kept all of his money and used it on his space ticket.

In March, Warren offers an “ultra-millionaire” tax that would seize pre-existing wealth to fund President Biden’s spending program. Most recently, Representative Thomas Suozzi (D-NY) offers a “tax on patriots” that would force those with net worth over $ 50 million to cede 2.5% of their wealth to the federal government. Those with net worth over $ 100 million would give up 5%.

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