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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

MacKenzie Bezos is part of the latest tranche of billionaires to sign on to the Giving Pledge, which commits participants to giving away at least half of their fortunes.

Why it matters: Bezos is estimated to be worth more than $35 billion after her divorce from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Her move opens her up to criticism over how the mega-wealthy use philanthropy.

Details:

  • She might go further than half, hinting in her letter making the commitment that she “has a disproportionate amount of money to share” and that she will ”keep at it until the safe is empty.”
  • A spokesperson for Bezos declined to comment on her specific priorities, but the Day One Fund that she and Jeff Bezos launched last year focused on education and homelessness.
  • Other pledge signatories this year include WhatsApp founder Brian Acton and his wife, former Stanford Communications Director Tegan Acton, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong, Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson, and his wife, physician Erica Lawson, as well as VCs Chris and Crystal Sacca.
  • The total number of Giving Pledge signatories now numbers 204.

The big picture: Bezos and the other billionaires who’ve taken the pledge are liable to charges that they are using philanthropy to influence society without doing anything to address the underlying causes of inequality — or paying their fair share of taxes.

The bottom line, via Axios' Scott Rosenberg: There's a growing chorus of critics pointing out that we're allowing billionaires to choose how to spend their fortunes without paying any taxes on them, when we could be taxing them and devoting a portion to publicly agreed upon needs.

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden adviser Cedric Richmond sees first-term progress on reparations

Illustration: "Axios on HBO"

White House senior adviser Cedric Richmond told "Axios on HBO" that it's "doable" for President Biden to make first-term progress on breaking down barriers for people of color, while Congress studies reparations for slavery.

Why it matters: Biden said on the campaign trail that he supports creation of a commission to study and develop proposals for reparations — direct payments for African-Americans.

Cyber CEO: Next war will hit regular Americans online

Any future real-world conflict between the United States and an adversary like China or Russia will have direct impacts on regular Americans because of the risk of cyber attack, Kevin Mandia, CEO of cybersecurity company FireEye, tells "Axios on HBO."

What they're saying: "The next conflict where the gloves come off in cyber, the American citizen will be dragged into it, whether they want to be or not. Period."

Cedric Richmond: We won't wait on GOP for "insufficient" stimulus

Top Biden adviser Cedric Richmond told "Axios on HBO" the White House believes it has bipartisan support for a stimulus bill outside the Beltway.

  • "If our choice is to wait and go bipartisan with an insufficient package, we are not going to do that."

The big picture: The bill will likely undergo an overhaul in the Senate after House Democrats narrowly passed a stimulus bill this weekend, reports Axios' Kadia Goba.