AOC Slammed Amazon for Taking Tax Breaks, But Wanted One for Her Business in 2012


Nobody likes a hypocrite. Yet the more that comes out about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the more that’s exactly what she appears to be — and the “democratic socialist” from New York may now have some explaining to do to her constituents.

After all, Ocasio-Cortez played a major role in the city losing tens of thousands of prospective jobs earlier this year after she railed against tax breaks for a planned Amazon expansion in New York and made it clear that she didn’t welcome the company’s presence.

“The idea that [Amazon] will receive hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks at a time when our subway is crumbling and our communities need MORE investment, not less, is extremely concerning to residents here,” the lawmaker complained on Twitter.

It apparently hadn’t occurred to her that a company building a headquarters and creating jobs in her state was investment. Not long after her tirade, Amazon announced that it would scratch its plans for the Empire State while still going ahead with a planned expansion in northern Virginia, bringing some 30,000 good jobs with it.

“Amazon’s decision to withdraw its New York City HQ2 is a setback for the city that illustrates [that] politics and anti-business sentiment can derail economic development despite competitive strengths,” investment expert Nick Samuels noted told CNBC after Amazon’s decision became public on Feb. 14.

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Losing Amazon upset Ocasio-Cortez critics enough that they paid for a Times Square billboard to shame the liberal lawmaker.

But Ocasio-Cortez celebrated Amazon’s decision to leave as some sort of bizarre “win” for the left. The message was clear: Tax breaks bad, even when they create jobs.

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And the hypocrisy? Well, it turns out that the very same Ocasio-Cortez favored tax breaks back in 2012, when she was trying to run a company of her own.

“[I]n 2012, she was a businesswoman seeking tax benefits for her startup, Brook Avenue Press, which published books and curricula for children in the Bronx,” the Washington Examiner reported  Tuesday.

An Ocasio-Cortez quote in a news release at the time from Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. was downright glowing about tax breaks — for her, at least.

“A tax break could mean part-time work for someone else or keeping a business’ doors open long enough to turn a profit,” Ocasio-Cortez said in the release.

She went on to praise tax breaks for businesses, saying “a small break can open up their resources for hiring, creating a new product, or reinvesting in the local economy.”

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The news release was part of a push for the Small Business Start-up Support Act, which aimed to increase the tax deduction limit for businesses. New York Sen. Kirstin Gillibrand, now part of the crowded field seeking the Democratic nomination for 2020, was a co-sponsor of the legislation.

Now, Amazon certainly isn’t a small startup anymore, although it began that way as an entrepreneur’s dream in a small garage. But as several tax experts noted to the Washington Examiner, the principle of providing incentives for businesses to grow is essentially the same, whether it’s a big employer or Ocasio-Cortez’s own pet project.

“Why should anyone be exempt from taxation if part of our obligation to others is to pay taxes and provide for the sort of services that democratic socialists think that various levels of government should provide?” asked Professor Steve Horwitz of Ball State University, according to the Examiner. “This is the kind of thing Amazon was asking for in Long Island.”

Indeed, you could make the case that tax breaks for an established company like Amazon make a lot more sense than giving them to a startup book-publishing operation like the one Ocasio-Cortez headed in 2012.

The Amazon deal was essentially guaranteed to generate jobs and revenue for New York. In contrast, Ocasio-Cortez’s children’s book startup was a total gamble, and in fact, went nowhere. (And left an unpaid tax bill behind it.)

Cato Institute tax expert Chris Edwards noted another layer of hypocrisy from Ocasio-Cortez, as well. It seems the very same proposal to increase tax deductions for businesses was part of a recent reform bill offered by Republicans … but this time, the liberal lawmaker was against it.

“She has also been critical of Republicans’ latest tax plan, which includes the tax deduction proposal she supported back in 2012 when her company would have benefited from it,” reported The Washington Examiner, noting that Ocasio-Cortez called it “a GOP tax scam for the rich.”

Do as we say, not as we do. Tax breaks for us, but none for you. This is the state of liberalism in 2019 … but hopefully, we can reverse it soon.

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Benjamin Arie is an independent journalist and writer. He has personally covered everything ranging from local crime to the U.S. president as a reporter in Michigan before focusing on national politics. Ben frequently travels to Latin America and has spent years living in Mexico.