Then Ocasio-Cortez went waaaay beyond the subsidies. She claimed the neighborhoods she represents near the proposed HQ2 were in a state of “outrage.” She said Amazon shouldn’t receive tax breaks “at a time when our subway is crumbling and our communities need MORE investment, not less.” Yet if funding the subways is your goal, Amazon would have delivered a lot of long-term tax revenue once it was up and running. And Ocasio-Cortez seemed to think that Amazon’s jobs didn’t count for anything unless they came from “the existing community” and were unionized.
Both of those ideas are absurd. Amazon no doubt would have brought in some new New Yorkers, but is AOC suggesting we build a wall around the city to keep out filthy outsiders? A huge part of the city’s energy comes from all the outsiders we keep attracting like, for instance, Ocasio-Cortez’s Puerto Rico-born mother.
As for AOC’s reference to unions, that’s backward-looking. Non-union Google employs some 7,000 people in New York City and it’s expanding. America’s tech giants are not unionized. That’s one of the reasons they became giants in the first place. A New York City that required jobs to be unionized would repel cutting-edge firms. Anyway, an outpost as large as the one Amazon proposed can hardly help expanding opportunity in the neighborhood, for everyone from cab drivers and sandwich makers all the way up the income scale. Unionized construction workers and building cleaning crews would have benefited.