These space races bring technology and cost reductions to everything we do in the world. Consider we were struggling to maintain GPS (as in, we had outages in some places in the US and around the earth), but now it costs 10% to launch GPS satellites, and SpaceX has had 5 launches.
People complain about internet access all the time, but now you can pop up high speed internet anywhere on earth, meaning you can move out to the country and still be connected. Monthly is about $100.
Branson and Bezos space launches are $250k per person. The extra seats were auctioned off, and raised $28m which was distributed to charities. It didn’t cost $28m for a launch, though there has definitely been a lot of research money spent. Research money spent doesn’t trickle down to the poor, but it does pay salaries, and pays for manufacturing, mining, etc. This literally pulled extra money out of a lot of wealthy people and gave it to charities.
A recent complaint meme was a zinger that “these billionaires should be competing to solve global warming, not go to space.” We all know how to fix global warming. It’s about being more efficient in everything we do, which is what these technologists are motivating people to do. But, a billion dollars, or even 100 billion does not “fix it”. A billion dollars would provide solar power for 25k homes. Barely a scratch. But a billion dollars can drive the creation of a lot of technology, and motivate a lot more change and improvement than you can buy off the shelf.
What’s happening is that they are transforming technology and the way society works. That is more valuable than buying something now, today. You might think buying food for people would help, but it would be better to work on sustainable technologies and things which help make food production possible. If you buy up all of the food now and give it to people, you just shift money to other pockets, and make food so costly that others can’t access it. You shift the problem, not solve it.
As to their money, these guys don’t have $200b. They own companies that other people want to own. If you have 1 million shares, the first share sold at the highest ask price, and multiply that out, that’s how people come to their prices. But, if you started selling them (to whom?), the price goes down, because not everyone wants it that badly. And eventually, as you start giving up real money, you find that the pressure is 30+ times the actual value of the company. For a small company, you could buy the whole thing, but for some of the largest companies, the valuation is so artificially inflated that the supply of money becomes a problem.
They do have multiple billions in assets, but they don’t earn billions. The memes saying “They made $16m today. Pay your taxes!) They didn’t make that money. That money doesn’t exist. It’s an artificial valuation based on the whims of people deciding whether they like a company or not. You want to tax someone highly on something they own being increased in valuation, then you have to refund them when the real value is less. This is why you tax people when they sell assets. Otherwise, your house went up in value. Why didn’t you pay 28% on that increase?
What’s happening here is that people see “He has money. I want money. Gimme.” It’s a propaganda war against people owning things and being a threat to other people who own things. Aim your frustrations at the real problems. It’s not someone owning property that other people want to buy.
Fight their anti-union stances if you want. Fight for higher wages and better benefits. Fight for higher minimum benefits, and protections against price gouging in pharmaceutical research. Fight for no more superPACs and no more lobbyist bribes and fight for ranked choice voting. Real things, not “big money is big bad.” It doesn’t mean anything coherent to say that.
Fight for changes in the way the economy works if you want. If you want no private ownership, be honest about that as well, but consider what happens when you have a horrible boss and no other job prospects. That’s what you’d be setting up.
It doesn’t make sense to say “ah, stop improving aerospace technologies. Liquidate their assets and spend it all right now.” Because then you don’t have the company doing the improvements, and you don’t have the money or assets for the next time you want to spend someone else’s money. But you would have all of the power of ownership consolidated into a much smaller group, which would have even less incentive to consider anyone else’s needs.