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Amazon and the Case Against Corporate Welfare

Plenty has been written about this already (read THIS, THIS, and THIS), but the one thing I found so obnoxious about the New York HQ2 fiasco was Amazon’s lack of goodwill and utter contempt for ordinary working people. This company is tone deaf to those concerns. But this was clearly more than just a battle over financial incentives and the right to build a helipad. It was about crony capitalism and corporate overreach.

What became increasingly clear to many was the fact that Amazon’s dominance has come at the expense of others. And it didn’t achieve this position by always playing by the rules. There’s plenty of evidence out there (read THIS and THIS) and the truth is, Amazon is a heavily subsidized enterprise that uses anticompetitive practices to get ahead.

The Amazon HQ2 contest was a shitshow from the start, a huge farce that pit cities against each other in order to obtain huge tax breaks at a time when municipalities across America are struggling to provide basic public services. So why would a company with a market cap of nearly a $1 trillion dollars be entitled to billions in taxpayer funded subsidies? A company run by the richest man in the world no less. Google didn’t extort tax payers when it decided to set up data centers in Manhattan.

The activists and public officials who opposed the original deal were not asking Amazon to leave; they wanted a better deal, more job guarantees, the right to unionize, etc. That’s looking out for your community and it’s what you do in a democracy. But Amazon didn’t have the time to address such trivialities and its army of lawyers and lobbyist had better things to do.

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