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Former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos slams Biden over gas price inflation

Yahoo Finance’s Rick Newman joins the Live show to recap former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s tweets targeting President Biden over gas price inflation.

Video transcript

- Rick, I'll add another thing to the list the president may want to try to figure out is how to manage or maybe become friends with billionaire Jeff Bezos because he's back on the attack on gas prices.

- I think that's a great idea, Brian. Why doesn't Biden just invite Jeff Bezos to the White House for a chat? This-- this all gets back to a little bit of a tweet exchange over the weekend. It was too polite to call it a tweet war.

But Biden put out a tweet saying, gee, the price of oil is down by $15. But the price of gasoline at the retail level has barely budged. And Bezos basically responded to that by saying, this is misdirection.

Bezos has used that word misdirection a couple of times. I'm not even sure what that means. It doesn't-- it's not exactly fighting words. But it's criticism, obviously.

But at any rate, Bezos and many others are just saying, Biden doesn't really understand the way the economy works. And I-- I think Biden probably has a better understanding of the way the economy works. And he's just doing this for political reasons.

He's trying to bash the retailers that are charging those high prices. But we have to acknowledge one really important reason that gas prices are so high and they're not coming down as fast as inflation is we don't have enough gasoline refining capacity in the United States at the moment. And no one's going to build a new refinery. This is not going to happen.

The refineries we do have are operating as close to full capacity as they can. So it's not as if anybody's playing games. I mean, we just have lost a little bit of refining capacity in this-- the market for gasoline is extremely tight.

So why doesn't Bezos-- why doesn't Biden have Bezos over and say, what's your suggestion for this refining problem? And Bezos might say, why don't you open a-- why don't you open a-- a national refining facility. You know, add a new facility.

I've seen that idea thrown out there. I don't think a lot of people think that's a good idea. But that's the type of thing it would take to get gas prices down by more. We need more gasoline refineries or we're not going to get them.

- Rick, maybe the President should hold a billionaire's ball. Let's get Elon Musk in the tent, too, because, clearly, he's not engaging with these folks. And both of them created really strong businesses. You would have to think they have some solution to something.

I think it would be a great idea. But Biden is stuck. He has sort of vilified billionaires. And anybody who is making money at a time of high inflation is bad. And, you know, honestly, this is not the way the US economy works.

So on this one, at least rhetorically, Biden has aligned himself with Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and the progressives who say, if you're making money, that's bad. You can't make too much money. But Biden should bring these guys in and say, give me your bet-- give me your five best ideas for how we can get a little bit of inflation relief to Americans. And I'll see what I can do.

It certainly can't hurt. And by the way, these guys are-- Amazon's generally popular. Progressives think, oh, Amazon's too big. It's abusive. It's not unionized. It fights the unions.

Look at surveys of brands. Amazon is often the number one, two, or three most popular brand in the United States. And I'm not sure Biden could go wrong by inviting Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk or Warren Buffett, for that matter, or a few other capitalists in and saying, help us solve this problem.

- He would probably be hard pressed to have to ask anything about the employment ideas that Amazon might have as well, considering some of those practices. But, yes--

- Have the conversation. Why not?

- Why not? And it's a roundtable conversation that's worth taking place. Rick, great to have you here to kick off the show with us this morning. Appreciate it, as always.

- Bye, guys.

- See you.