It’s a rare day when Tucker Carlson and Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are on the same page about something, particularly when it comes to corporate America.
However, both of them seem to be in agreement on one thing: Amazon’s new headquarters in New York City is a bad deal for locals.
On Tuesday, Amazon announced that one of its two new headquarters would be in Long Island City, an enclave in the borough of Queens. According to CNBC, it’s a fast-growing, rapidly gentrifying area with 51 percent of residents under the age of 34. In other words, just Amazon’s crowd — which is why the company is dropping a $2.5 billion investment there.
Ocasio-Cortez, who’ll be representing a different part of New York City, came out against the deal.
“Amazon is a billion-dollar company,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “The idea that it 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.”
Carlson, surprisingly, was somewhat in agreement — at least on that point.
“For about a hundred years, the Democratic Party was the party of America’s working class. Not anymore,” Carlson said on his Thursday show.
“Now, the Democratic Party is the party of merciless corporate power, of Google, Facebook and the rest, and they’ll punish you if you get in their way.
“The latest example: New York and Northern Virginia, two of the bluest parts of the country, showered promises and billions and billions in taxpayer breaks on Jeff Bezos,” Carlson continued. “He runs Amazon. In return, both of those states are getting Amazon headquarters. It’s a great deal for Bezos — not that he needs it, he’s already the richest man on planet earth. But what about taxpayers?”
In a back-and-forth with Patriarch Eric Schiffer, CEO of the Patriarch Organization investment firm, Carlson argued that the $1.5 billion in tax breaks the city gave Amazon could have been spent on NYC’s crumbling infrastructure. Carlson said that the city “smells, the subways break, it’s disgusting.”
“Why would the Democratic Party hand the richest man in the world three billion dollars a year to move to New York without asking what the taxpayers think, in a city that’s literally falling apart?” he asked.
Carlson’s concerns about tax breaks and infrastructure are somewhat different from Ocasio-Cortez’s multitude of tweeted laments about the Amazon deal (unionization, affordable housing, health care, pretty much everything but demanding Amazon rid the world of dengue), but the point still stands: One can see this very much like cities shelling out massive incentives for sports stadiums that never quite pay off.
There have been some concerns about the Amazon HQ2 deal, particularly from libertarian corners of the political sphere. Last year, as the battle was heating up, Reason posted its own parody video about the tussle for the new headquarters.
Except that there are some major differences here.
Amazon says it will offer 25,000 new jobs; the estimated average salary is $150,000. That’s a lot of reinvestment into the community and a lot of growth, which means a lot of ancillary benefits. You also have to factor in that New York state is already the third-worst state in the nation in terms of corporate taxes, according to the Tax Foundation. Without incentives, it wouldn’t exactly have been an ideal location.
In the end, these sorts of deals are made all the time by Republican and Democrat governments. The only thing that we can hope for is that these aren’t just deals that make politicians look great and offload the majority of the cost on American taxpayers.
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