Via the Free Beacon, it ain’t just Republicans side-eyeing each other over Ocasio-Cortez’s grasp of Amazon’s arrangement with NYC.
This may be the most economically ignorant statement I have ver read. https://t.co/6iURWXEaq9
— Steven Rattner (@SteveRattner) February 15, 2019
There is a financial literacy epidemic in America.
Quick lesson: NYC wasn’t handing cash to Amazon. It was an incentive program based on job creation, producing tax revenue.
There isn’t a $3 billion pile of money that can now be spent on subways or education.
— Andrew Ross Sorkin (@andrewrsorkin) February 14, 2019
You need to watch the clip at the end of this post to understand what Sorkin’s getting at. It is … unfortunate that a 29-year-old would have trouble understanding that the tax incentives promised to Amazon weren’t true “subsidies.” They weren’t getting $3 billion in cash from New York that can now be redirected to public works projects. They were getting the right to subtract $3 billion from their eventual state and local tax burden. New York doesn’t have more revenue now that Amazon’s flown the coop. It’ll have way, way less long-term.
Unfortunate that an adult wouldn’t grasp that. Worrisome that an adult who professes to care passionately about the arrangement between Amazon and NYC wouldn’t. Alarming that that adult now has policymaking power and a national cult of personality egging on her economic illiteracy. Said Tiana Lowe, seizing on the news of the day, “Members of Congress not understanding how tax abatements & credits differ from subsidies is a national emergency.”
Not everyone is so ignorant:
— Zack Fink (@ZackFinkNews) February 14, 2019
The most interesting critic of Ocasio-Cortez at the moment is Bill de Blasio, not only because they’re both of the left but because of the generational difference between them. Age ain’t just a number in this case, according to the man himself:
“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,” the mayor said on WNYC radio…
“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,” said a boiling de Blasio. “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 added. “They understand they have to be paid for.”
De Blasio’s going to be torn to shreds by the AOC fan club for siding with Jeff Bezos against The People. That’s what happens when you’re a politician whose capital depends on delivering things like jobs instead of on a personality cult.
Nate Silver noticed Ocasio-Cortez’s celebratory tweet yesterday after Amazon announced it was leaving and was struck by the fact that she didn’t recite any of the usual criticisms of the deal — the tax breaks, the fear of working-class people being further priced out of the housing market, and so on. “[M]embers of Congress are usually quite parochial,” he observed, “and also the deal was popular locally.” That’s precisely the difference between her and de Blasio. She’s a socialist activist first and a representative for her district second. Where the interests of those two constituencies conflict, the former takes precedence. Like I said last night, the particular grievances surrounding the Amazon deal seem less important to her than the big-picture struggle of Socialists vs. Mega-corporations, particularly when that mega-corporation is trying to muscle in on progressive turf. It was a test of strength and the idiots won, whatever that might mean for jobs for her district or tax revenue for the city. In that sense, who cares if she misunderstood that the “subsidies” for Amazon weren’t cash payments but tax credits? It’s a detail, irrelevant to the larger ideological war.