Amazon wound up going with the home of Wall Street and the home of America’s government, two advantages no amount of money could buy.That's the nature of chasing Hero Projects with tax dollars.
Meanwhile, struggling cities across the country were led to believe that an economic renaissance could be headed their way, and spent time and money trying to win something they possibly never had a chance at to begin with, instead of expending those resources on the people they are supposed to serve. The whole thing should be a national embarrassment.
Amazon, in particular, are emblematic of contemporary Democrat-Green-Information crony capitalism. Rush Limbaugh did a segment on just that yesterday. "Corporate cronyism on steroids," indeed.
The project is notorious enough that newly elected Member of Congress Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Naïf-N.Y.) says something George Mason's Veronique de Rugy can agree with.
Ocasio-Cortez is mostly correct on this matter, and her conservative critics are wrong. Handouts like this to Amazon and other prominent companies are appalling in their cronyism, pure and simple. I agree that she doesn’t understand economics and that her socialist ideal is a recipe for fiscal and economic disaster. But her conservative critics reveal their own economic misunderstanding when they support targeted tax breaks as a means of creating jobs.It's a long post, particularly for National Review's Corner, which launched as a sort of in-house weblog lo these many years ago, covering a number of points, but not what might be the most telling objection to targeted tax breaks of any kind, namely that governments ought not view voters or corporations as so many laboratory rats to be stimulated in a maze.
The new representative from Brooklyn, however, is not internally consistent on opposing subsidies, as a roundup by Betsy Newmark argues. She summarizes, "We must make our choice among limited plunder, universal plunder, and no plunder." Universal plunder is likely as long as elected representatives conduct advance auctions of stolen goods, which is to say, participate in positional arms races. Disarming, despite the best efforts of Mercatus writers, isn't an option.
Matt Mitchell came up with the idea of an interstate compact — an agreement in which state governments pledge to mutually disarm in the subsidy war. I wrote about it a few months ago.But as long as there are bright shiny things like corporate headquarters or bowl bids at stake, the positional arms races are likely to go on.
I know the usual excuses for corporate welfare; I’ve heard them enough times. They’re exhausted. In the spirit of one of my political heroes, FDR, I’ll just call out to the economic royalists of our time: bend, so you don’t break.That's with reference to Harvard's endowments and Amazon's subsidy package. Closer to home, I hope another trip to the Mid-American title game and two home games in the preseason basketball tournament are worth the nutrition coaches and deferred maintenance.
I can stomach austerity when it’s real, and shared. But this isn’t austerity. It’s theft. It’s theft from students who literally can’t afford lunch.
I hope this moment is remembered, historically, as the high-water mark for the new Gilded Age. There’s only so much austerity fatigue a body politic can tolerate. We can’t keep doing this. And it’s starting to become clear that, one way or another, we won’t.