Martin Vander Weyer

It’s perverse to celebrate the cancellation of Amazon’s ‘HQ2’

It's perverse to celebrate the cancellation of Amazon's 'HQ2'
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The Witch: A History of Fear, from Ancient Times to the Present

Ronald Hutton

Yale, pp. 376, £

My hopes of an invite from Jeff Bezos to the opening of Amazon’s proposed but now cancelled ‘HQ2’ at Long Island City in New York were slim, since I was thrown out of his existing Seattle HQ on the orders of the online giant’s PR police. But I disagree with rising-star Democrat congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who hailed the scrapping of the project as a victory for ‘everyday New Yorkers’ over ‘Amazon’s corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world’.

It’s true that the way Amazon invited US cities to tender for the new complex with competing local tax breaks — while reportedly having paid no federal taxes on some $17 billion of profits for the past two years — displayed extreme corporate arrogance. The fact that the Long Island City site would have included a helipad for Bezos and his senior colleagues’ exclusive use was deemed particularly offensive. But still the pragmatic calculation was that New York would have gained 25,000 jobs and $27 billion in state and city tax revenues in return for $3 billion of ‘incentives’. It’s perverse of America’s increasingly strident left-wing  ‘progressives’ to celebrate losing all that, even if it would have made Jeff richer than ever.

Written byMartin Vander Weyer

Martin Vander Weyer is business editor of The Spectator. He writes the weekly Any Other Business column.

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