The role Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) played in destroying New York’s Amazon deal is our first national lesson in the horrors that always accompany socialism.
That doesn’t mean she’s wrong about crony capitalism. Anyone who understands anything about fairness is appalled by this ongoing grift where large corporations and institutions (like Hollywood) get special treatment from the government. Time and again, we see, most especially at the state and local level, where unique tax (and other) incentives are used to attract businesses and the jobs and tax revenue that come with.
It is an outrageous practice, but the alternative is worse.
Crony capitalism is like free speech: There is plenty of downside in allowing unfettered free speech, but the cure — restricting speech — is always worse. Sure, the federal government could try to outlaw state and local politicians from offering these special incentives, but who wants that?
So we just have to learn to live with crony capitalism while we try to put an end to it through argumentation and the electing of politicians who understand that a reasonable tax and regulatory environment is the best way to attract business and negate the need to offer incentives/bribes.
Unfortunately, though, the world is what it is, and we cannot go around throwing away the good in pursuit of the perfect, which is exactly what Ocasio-Cortez did when she and a handful of other left-wing New York loons led the charge to scuttle this Amazon deal.
To attract Amazon’s second headquarters (HQ2), in a rare moment of cooperation, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, both far-left Democrats, offered Amazon $3 billion in tax incentives.
In return, Amazon agreed to create at least 25,000 good-paying jobs and to build a massive employee campus in Long Island City, Queens. Over the next 20 years, that $3 billion tax incentive would result in more than $25 billion in tax revenue.
Overall, over time, HQ2 would pour as much as a trillion dollars into New York’s economy — and not only through the salaries paid to the tech-savvy. This money would have trickled down to local stores and restaurants, not to mention the laborers required to build, clean, and maintain all that infrastructure.
Sure, there’s a downside. In many ways, gentrification does suck. Rents go up. Local businesses go down. Those who don’t fit into the changing culture find themselves pushed out of it. But, hey, that’s life, and eventually, most of us have to come to terms with the fact the future no longer belongs to us.
But that HQ2 was a net-plus for New York, and, most especially, Long Island City is beyond dispute. Which means you have to ask yourself what the hell Ocasio-Cortez and her socialist confederates were thinking.
Writing for the Federalist, David Marcus believes she wasn’t thinking at all:
The jobs were already coming, so why not take the opportunity to stick your finger in the eye of the big, mean, nasty corporation? Today, all that changed. She fished what she wished and Amazon decided not to bring tens of thousands of jobs to New York City after all. Today, her effective opposition to the deal is a much different story, one in which she has to defend creating less opportunity for working New Yorkers.
In other words, under the impression the deal was sealed, Ocasio-Cortez assumed she could have her cake and eat it too, could score socialist points railing against HQ2 without killing those 25,000 jobs. But with the help of some other local, socialist demagogues, she did kill it, and she killed something her own constituents wanted.
Two polls show broad public support for the deal, including among the very people Ocasio-Cortez was elected to serve: “New York City voters approve 57 – 26 percent, including 60 – 26 percent among Queens voters,” Quinnipiac found.
A Siena College poll found that “By 56 to 36 percent New Yorkers approve of the recently announced deal between Amazon and New York which grants up to $3 billion in state and city incentives to Amazon[.]”
Those most eager to see the Amazon deal come to fruition were blacks and Hispanics, who backed the deal by wide margins. Seventy percent of black voters support it, while a mere 25 percent did not. Hispanics support the deal by an even wider margin of 81 to 17 percent.
Many mistakes were made here. It was idiotic for Cuomo and de Blasio to work out the Amazon deal in secret, to not include lawmakers. They were begging for a wounded-ego rebellion. And Amazon could have been far less greedy in its Welfare Queen demands.
Nevertheless, the world is what it is, and oftentimes it’s messy and unfair, and maybe there’s some Karma at work here. After all, the same New Yorkers losing these jobs are the same New Yorkers who continue to vote for far-left politicians who create a hostile business environment that requires crony capitalism to attract jobs.
But there is a bigger lesson here — our first look at the real world effects of socialism and the manic puritans who practice it.