Seriously, bad idea.
“I’ll change my name to Amazon Cuomo if I have to,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, fresh off of his reelection, told reporters. Just hours later, media outlets began to report that New York City, along with Crystal City in Virginia, were the locations that Amazon had decided upon for their second headquarters, dubbed HQ2.
While Cuomo will not have to change his name, his groveling before Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos shows the lengths that politicians are willing to go in order to have the megacorporation come to town. Instead of his name, Cuomo is forking over $1.5 billion dollars on behalf of taxpayers to Amazon (a company that is worth over a trillion dollars). That is an incredible amount of money — money that could be used to fix the subways and the MTA, as well as to fund affordable housing programs and work towards ending homelessness. But instead, Cuomo has decided to dump massive amounts of money in the lap of the richest man in the world, because we live in a neoliberal capitalist hell.
PHOTO COURTESY OF DELI MARKET NEWS
Corporate subsidies using public money have long been used to lure companies to a new location, generally one that has some downside. While these decimate city budgets and cause massive cuts to essential programs by themselves, the whole theory behind them does not even apply to Amazon. Amazon is not some small manufacturer in danger of moving jobs overseas. It is one of the most powerful companies in the world, and it can — and will — go wherever the hell it wants, no matter how much money cities and states promise it.
Amazon pitting cities against each other was not only a weird, Hunger Games-like horse race, but was futile in the first place. There were no other places that Amazon was going to go besides NYC and Northern Virginia — not Dallas, not Raleigh and certainly not Indianapolis. It was solely a media game, where crumbling cities fought each other to give a corporation money that it does not need.
Ryman is a Political Science major with minors in Theater and History.