Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NY) ripped into Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) for her role in killing the deal to bring Amazon to Queens.
During an appearance on WNYC radio this week, the mayor said, “As a progressive my entire life — and I ain’t changing — I’ll take on any progressive anywhere that thinks it’s a good idea to lose jobs and revenue because I think that’s out of touch with what working people want.”
“I came up watching the mistakes of progressives of the past, unfortunately, what happened in this city when it almost went to bankruptcy in the 1970s,” a furious de Blasio added. “I saw all the times progressives did not show people effective governance and all the times progressives made the kinds of mistakes that alienated working people.”
“Working people are very smart and very discerning. They want jobs, they want revenue, they want the kinds of things that government can do for them,” he said. “They understand they have to be paid for.”
This week, Ocasio-Cortez cheered the news that Amazon pulled out of a deal that promised 25,000 high-paying jobs for her constituents and at least $25 billion in additional tax revenue over ten years.
“Anything is possible,” she tweeted.“Today was a day a group of dedicated, everyday New Yorkers & their neighbors defeated Amazon’s corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world.”
The only problem with that is that she later proved she had no concept of how the deal was set up. “We were subsidizing those jobs,” she told reporters, adding that if the state/city was willing to “give away $3 billion for this deal,” those investments can, instead, be made in hiring teachers and fixing the subway.
Here’s the full quote:
So I firmly believe that if we want to take that $3 billion dollars that we were willing to give to Amazon and invest it in our local community, we can do that. We can make those jobs. We can make 25,000 jobs. But we don’t have to give away and allow our subway system to crumble so that Amazon essentially owns a part of New York City. We can create 25,000 jobs with Mom-and-Pops; we can create 25,000 jobs with companies that are willing to come to the table, but we should not be giving away our infrastructure, our subway system, our schools, our teachers’ salaries, our firefighters’ budgets, to a company that has not shown good faith to New Yorkers. And we can ask for more because we deserve more.
Except that is not at all how the deal was structured. There was no giveaway. The $3 billion was a tax cut, was New York allowing Amazon to keep its own money. In other words, if Amazon owed $23 billion in taxes, the company would only pay $20 billion.
Now, as I argued on Friday, there is a case to be made against this kind of crony capitalism, these carveouts where the government picks winners and losers. I am not a big fan of the gentrification that would have certainly come with Amazon’s massive campus on Long Island City, Queens. But I am also willing to admit I’m a middle-aged fuddy-duddy who hates change.
But that this deal overall was a good one for New York is not in dispute. There is also no doubt the people of New York, including Ocasio-Cortez’s own constituents in the Queens area that would have been most affected by it, wanted the deal. But she blew it…
And when a Bill de Blasio is complaining about someone being too far to the left, that is really something.
In her defense, though, it could just be that she’s an idiot.