New York's corporate welfare for Amazon enrages the Koch Brothers, Bernie Sanders, Tucker Carlson, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, etc

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I seriously doubt it. States have been doing this forever in order to attract businesses to their tax base. It will be a sweet teet to let go of.

And politicians LOVE 'dat sugar:

“In our book, “Incentives to Pander,” we explain how offering incentives to companies is a way for cities that know they aren’t going to actually attract their investment to show voters just how hard they are trying, allowing them to minimize the blame when they don’t succeed.”

"To better understand the effects of offering investment incentives on voters, we asked 1,500 respondents of the annual YouGov survey about how a business investment that would create 1,000 jobs in their state would affect their support for the governor. Participants were randomly told one of the following:

– that the governor offered greater tax incentives than other states and won the investment

– that the governor offered greater tax incentives but didn’t win the investment

– that the governor offered tax incentives equal to or less than other states and won the investment

– that the governor offered tax incentives equal to or less than other states and didn’t win the investment.

“Respondents were then asked whether they would be more or less likely to vote for the governor in the next election.”

“Unsurprisingly, respondents were always more likely to support the governor if the company invested in the state. What was striking was their response to the incentive.”

“A winning bid that included a bigger tax incentive led to a 5 percent boost in support relative to the scenario in which the governor won the investment but didn’t outbid other states. Even more interesting is that a losing bid that included a big incentive led to double the boost of support.”

“This study demonstrates the electoral value to politicians of making a splashy bid for an investment, particularly when they have good reason to believe their locality has little chance of actually winning it. We suspect that this allows a politician to avoid the potential blame of losing a bid as well.”

“So in terms of game theory, politicians have a dominant strategy to offer incentives to all prospective investors, whether a company needs a break or not or however improbable it is to actually happen.”


I dream of a Federal tax (at a high rate) on these kinds of state and local subsidies. They’re all zero-sum competitions where the real loser is always the taxpayer, and making them net unprofitable to the corporations in question would do a good bit to actually restore competition on the merits rather than the rent-seeking we see so much now.

Much as it weirds me to find myself on the same side of an issue as the Kochs, strange bedfellows and all.


Could have been worse, could have given them $3 billion like WI gave to Foxconn.


The Koch’s are just angry that Amazon got a better deal.


It’s not just the left who object, either: Koch-affiliated think-tanks publicly denounced the move as “wasteful corporate welfare” that was detrimental to the “public good.”

They’re just sore because they didn’t think of the scam first.

The protests have gone viral, and some have called it the beginning of the end for this kind of handout, as public moods shift.

Didn’t Calgary voters just reject the city making a Winter Olympics bid? I hope people are getting wise to these boondoggles and that politicians start getting the message.


Yeah at least they look like they’re actually gonna build the thing.

They can’t have thought through how this was gonna look. Deal seems custom built to piss people off.

I mean it includes permission to put in a private helipad. That’s probably one of the single most obvious things you can do to piss off residents.

Not only did they basically ban private helipads and restrict helicopter use after 9/11. But the whole private helicopter air taxi for the rich thing is a huge pet peeve in the NY Metro. Particularly on Long Island. With rich mother fuckers using them to do things like avoid traffic on the 1 hour drive to their vacation masion. I watched one of those mother fuckers land in a crowded public park so he could get a coffee.


I feel like referencing game theory there gives a faux-authority to the statement. This isn’t about logic, it’s about public mood. Public mood can shift.

I think politicians running on “end corporate welfare” have doing well with that message recently. Trump campaigned on that message (though he campaigned on nearly every message). The fact that people can write for major papers called subsidies “corporate welfare” is itself evidence that people are turning against them.

This Amazon thing has added fuel to that fire by being such a public spectacle. You might conduct the same study in a few years and get a different result.


I can’t help but think Tucker Carlson is against the amazon deal because Bezos owns the Washington Post. Has he ever come out against any other corporate welfare?


Calgary can’t, under provincial law, offer property-tax incentives to Amazon, as some other cities in the United States have been doing

They were beaten at their own game. That has to sting.

More likely, their definition of “wasteful corporate welfare” is any such funds that do not end up in their bank accounts.


I’m sure I’m on the same page as the Kochs when it comes to, say, city-sized kitten-torture megafactories (well, 80% sure), and I have no problem with that, even though I hope they die. Not everything is necessarily a partisan issue; sometimes things are just broken and need fixing, and we should all be happy to have the chance to uncontroversially make something better without multimillion-dollar spittle-flecked media hate campaigns.

I don’t think cities like doing this, any more than the Soviet Union liked spending all its money on nuclear missiles. They just don’t want to lose out by being the first to stop. It’s a complicated problem, but it’s “just” a practical problem, so it might be a rare case where current governments could actually accomplish something good.

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They must not hold much Amazon stock in their portfolio.

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If there ever was an issue to unite the left and the right - this one is it. Everyone is still reeling from being conned by the banks and just aches for a rematch.


With apologies to Chris Rock: “The left and the right have more in common than either of them does with the banks.”

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The Koch pushback is a bit of a surprise, but not all that much. I like to think of the economy as a gigantic virtual biome and economic entities as the virtual organisms that inhabit this biome. Entities of the same species may find themselves directly competing with each other for dominance, and so may fight it out head to head. But even entities of different species (in this case Amazon and Koch Industries) may conflict with each other over territory or resources. In the end, the effect on economic organisms such as ourselves is all the same: as the old Kikuyu adage goes: “When the elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.”


On the other hand, I’d say that the Republicans and Democrats have more in common with the banks than they do with their non-wealthy constituents.


My favorite part about this as a newcomer (I’m an immigrant) is about “newcomers” displacing the “locals”. Oh no, the horror! You know who else thinks newcomers should get the hell out and leave jobs/housing/whatever to the locals? Maybe these guys should build-that-wall!

They certainly don’t give two shits about the public good.