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North American cities have been tripping over any other to give away tax dollars to Amazon in hopes of attracting the company’s second domicile — and the foe is getting fiercer as the list gets smaller.
Last Thursday, the tech firm narrowed down the list of finalists for its second headquarters, which they call “HQ2″ — winnowing 238 bids down to some 20 cities that could potentially horde the next major Amazon campus. The list of finalists strayed from the West Coast (where Amazon originated), and enclosed many locations in the Midwest and on the East Coast — including the cities of Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, New York and Miami. Yet location may be reduction critical to Amazon than free money, considering the eye-bulging incentives cities have thrown at the fourth-largest company in the United States.
To wit: Chicago offered to redirect 50 to 100 percent of Amazon employees’ income taxes back to Amazon — in effect, gifting billions of dollars of workers’ tax money to a house worth around half a trillion dollars, helmed by the richest man on Earth. Newark, New Jersey is reportedly charity Amazon up to $7 billion in taxation breaks. Denver could give Amazon $100 million in incentives from a state fund, according to the Denver Post. Similarly, Philadelphia could give Amazon $1 billion in tax incentives.
It’s worth observant that the only non-U.S. city finalist is Toronto, a city that reportedly isn’t charity vast subsidies to charm Amazon.
As Congressman Keith Ellison, D-Minn., forked out, there’s something very discouraging with this situation. As Rep. Ellison wrote on Twitter:
Tax breaks to Amazon betrothed by New Jersey: $7 billion. Tax breaks betrothed by Illinois: $2 billion. Something is deeply wrong with the economy democracy when internal governments offer up their taxation bottom to a house worth over $500 billion. https://t.co/csnETiF5zT
— Rep. Keith Ellison (@keithellison) Jan 18, 2018
This county kowtow to the corporate overlords marks the many extreme courting proviso American cities have exhibited with a big corporation. Indeed, many democratically-elected county leaders are laying out the acquire pad for Amazon, while bland people in pronounced cities seem reduction eager by the awaiting of prioritizing corporate needs over county ones. In other words, it feels a lot like category war.
As Donald Jeffries, author of “Survival of the Richest” wrote in Salon, America’s category opening is wider than ever. “…[Things] have reached the indicate where the richest 4 hundred people in the country have some-more resources than the bottom 50 percent of the race combined,” Jeffries wrote. “Even some-more incredibly, on an general scale, the richest 85 people in the universe now have as much resources as the lowest half of their associate human beings around the globe.”
The ubiquity with which American county leaders fawned over Amazon raises a bigger question: Why are politicians so desperate for us to trust that we can trust big companies to make all right again in the neighborhoods? It seems like trickle-down Trumpian proof at its best. The Trump administration done competition of enlivening us to trust that the GOP taxation bill, essentially a hulk present to large companies and the rich, was a good thing for all of us. And last week, Trump’s Department of Labor due a new “tip stealing” rule that would give some-more energy to business owners and reduction energy to sloping workers. These kinds of policies cede more energy and income to big corporations, with no pledge that working- and middle-class Americans will see any benefits. No signs of democracy here.
Alas, apparently this is the domestic moment. Amazon says its new domicile will bring up to 50,000 jobs. But if history has taught us anything, “more jobs” does not equate to a tide that will arise all boats.
Nicole Karlis is a news author at Salon whose essay has seemed in Marie Claire, the New York Times, the Bold Italic, and other publications. Tweet her @nicolekarlis.