Amazon’s leadership apparently decided that they did not want to be the punching bag of New York’s progressive politicians.
There are arguably reasons to be critical of some of the incentives New York was willing to offer the giant e-tailer to persuade it to establish a new headquarters in Queens.
Amazon may be too powerful. It may foster a progressive corporate culture that many conservatives would find uncomfortable.
But, by golly, there is something delicious in the bluntness of Amazon’s statement about why it will not, after a long courtship by Governor Cuomo and New York Mayor de Blasio, set up shop in New York: the company simply refuses to be kicked around constantly by progressive politicians, who were clearly relishing the prospect of making life miserable for a company that would have brought an estimated 25,000 new jobs to their community.
The Wall Street Journal notes in an editorial this morning:
“A number of state and local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our presence and will not work with us to build the type of relationships that are required to go forward with the project we and many others envisioned in Long Island City,” Amazon said in calling off the three-month engagement.
The Seattle-based retailer had only kind words for Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, who wooed it like contestants on “The Bachelor.” In return for the promise of 25,000 jobs, the state and city in November offered up to $3 billion in subsidies as well as a helipad for CEO Jeff Bezos and other executives to fly over congested city streets.
But the ensuing gang-beating offered a portent of what Amazon was walking into. An Amazon executive was asked at a City Council meeting last month whether the company would agree to unionization. “We have great-paying jobs and we respect an employee’s right to choose or not to join a union,” the executive explained. “The goal that you are trying to achieve is good jobs, not low-paying jobs.”
Unions, a prime source of money for Democratic politicians, are not wont to accept that good jobs, not union membership, is the goal. So Amazon was going to be browbeaten constantly over unionization if it set up in New York.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was only one of the politicians behind the move to block Amazon. But she became the face of the movement (she has a way of doing that). Her reaction is instructive.
“Ocasio-Castro Takes a Victory Lap after Amazon Scraps Plans to Build in New York” is the headline on an AOL report. Here is Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s quote :
“I think it’s incredible,” Ocasio-Cortez responded when asked to comment on Amazon’s about-face. “It shows that everyday Americans still have the power to organize and fight for their communities and they can have more say in this country than richest man in the world.”
Now, you may ask: But doesn’t she care about the estimated 25,000 jobs that New York has lost? I think I can explain: a progressive such as Ocasio-Cortez is more interested in government “helping” people than in creating jobs people might find and pursue of their own initiative. So, the short answer is, no, she is not disturbed that New York has lost a major supplier of new jobs.
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez continued:
“We were subsidizing those jobs,” Ocasio-Cortez said Thursday. “The city was paying for those jobs. Frankly if we were willing to give away $3 billion dollars for this deal, we could invest those $3 billion in our district, ourselves, if we wanted to. We could hire out more teachers. We can fix our subways. We can put a lot of people to work for that amount of money if we wanted to.”
Somebody must have been napping in econ class. That is not how it works. Hot Air has a succinct explanation of how she goes wrong (if you even need one, Gentle Reader):
AOC can’t be bothered to pretend [that she cares about lost jobs]. It’s wonderful that those jobs aren’t coming to New York. Progressivism won today. What could be finer? “Never Amazon” captures her attitude perfectly. Oh, by the way: As you’ll see in the clip, America’s new political star seems to believe that the $3 billion in tax breaks that Amazon would have received is cash that the city has in hand and which can now be spent on progressive agenda items. This is who’s setting the left’s economic agenda.
New York gets nothing, nada, out of the failed deal.
But the rest of the country ought to get a lesson in AOC economic thought.