I am really unhappy about losing the head office of Amazon2.


The logo of Amazon upside down to frown on an image of Long Island City

Photo illustration by Slate. Photo of Drew Angerer / Getty Images.

The following essay is adapted from an episode of L & # 39; essential, a daily Slate podcast about news, culture and everything you talk about with your family and friends.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio described Amazon's decision to move to Queens as the largest economic development agreement in New York City's history. And that means he's just lost the biggest economic development contract in the history of New York City.

Amazon needed $ 3 billion in subsidies. In exchange, the state of New York was to receive $ 27 billion in its coffers. Any company in the world would have obtained most of these grants under the law. Not only the huge, the rich.

Maybe the story around Jeff Bezos and his helicopter you do not mind, but do not focus on emotions. Let's focus on the $ 3 billion in grants and $ 27 billion over 25 years that Amazon would have given to the state and the city. (The total budget of New York City is $ 89.15 billion.) These two figures could be inflated by activists on either side, but they do not seem so far apart that they are called bullshit ( a service that I offer).

We could offer subsidies to owners of poor and underprivileged businesses when they create 25,000 jobs in New York, but I do not think they are the ones who have 25,000 jobs to create. It's almost as if the highest-paying jobs a company has, the more likely it was that its CEO would be very well paid. There are exceptions, but that's the rule and it should not have bothered New Yorkers to the point of saying "no" to billions of dollars of investment.

Amazon did not need these grants. He just wants them. But is not it just an example of enrichment of the rich? That is, by 3 billion dollars. But you know who else would have become richer? Every New Yorker, $ 27 billion. Of course, there are only 20 million New Yorkers, so it only costs $ 1,350. If I offered you $ 1,350, but that meant that a very, very rich man, who did not need that money, would become so rich, would you accept that? I'm sure that in Amazon, they say to employees, "Guys, we had a great quarter and you're all going to have a pay raise," and some socially responsible employees say, "Wait a minute, if we had a good quarter, and I get an increase, does Jeff Bezos benefit too? Indeed, he benefits. "Then I reject my raise."

The New York government, Andrew Cuomo, was blocked by the deal, but he was particularly concerned that somebody would kill him. But he thought he could work from all angles in Albany, bring the transaction to a successful conclusion and let the opponents be damned. So that Amazon ended up saying, "God, these naysayers, because every other city in America really loves us."

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De Blasio was a lot less brave in his defense of Amazon. A few days after the announcement of this announcement, he said, "A smart government said," We are here to negotiate for the citizens. We must withdraw a lot for the people. There is no doubt in my mind that this is what we are going to achieve here. "In recent days, he seemed a lot less cheerleader and defense coordinator. He continually emphasized that he has no control over most of these grants. This is a good point, but we are not trying to get the public to rally around the deal. It's almost as if he wants to maintain his credibility with the progressives, instead of doing everything to help the city.

I am really pissed. And I'm not sorry because I was on the losing side of what I think is a fair debate. I really thought it would be good for the people of New York. This would be a constraint for the specific neighborhood, Long Island City, in which Amazon would visit. But I know that what failed this agreement was mainly misconceptions and ignorance. I would have liked to sit with Blasio and Cuomo and give them a little communication advice.

We have a public relations problem here. All we need to do is educate people on a fact: Most New Yorkers think their taxes are going to Amazon: when they issue a check at the end of the year in New York, or in New York State, or withdraw a portion of their paycheck money, a party to go to the helicopter of Amazon and Jeff Bezos. We know that's not true.

Maybe we make fun of Bezos and his helicopter, vilify him a little. Maybe we say: your taxes are not going to woo Amazon. This is not how it works. What we did is give a coupon to Amazon or do what a bar does for happy hour.

You could be a little humble. You can say, "I hear the community and we will look into this in the future and maybe we will not be as generous with the size of this coupon. We gave them a 10% discount coupon. We should have given 5%. Let's talk about it. I know that all supermarket owners say, "Why should I give a discount? I have a super supermarket here. Because if you do not make a reduction, you risk not having money. And we did not want to take chances.

If you are against this agreement with Amazon, you are against the billion dollars a year for the rest of the world. we.

Here is how the calculation works: we have 25,000 employees. They earn an average of $ 150,000 each. It's $ 400 million. There will probably be more employees than that and they will probably be paid more than that. It's a good thing. You become richer too. Does Amazon enrich it? Yeah. It's very good. You become richer.

People love this part, and you should believe it: this Long Island City subway station will be really crowded. If you rent in Long Island City, your rent is likely to increase. Say "Long Island City" again and again. Make it clear that there is tension between Long Island City and all others. It's a little selfish on the part of the people, but it's a rational egoism. They might start saying, "It's sad that Long Island City gets caught, but I want that money for myself, the New Yorker who does not live in Long Island City."

Let's say Madison Square Garden has announced a plan to add 59 seats. Would you say we can not do it? Fifty-nine seats, compared to the capacity of Madison Square Garden, are proportionally equivalent to 25,000 jobs in a city of 8.6 million. Let's say we add 36 more taxis. Are you really going to ask yourself "what are we going to do with all the taxis in addition?" But 36 additional taxis, out of 13,000 taxis, equate to an increase of 25,000 over a city of 8.6 million. 39; inhabitants.

The largest figure is $ 27 billion. That's over a billion dollars a year for 25 years. You do not want these billions? We will help Long Island City. If you are against this deal with Amazon, you are against the $ 1 billion a year for the rest of us. We are opposed to activists and perhaps to a very influential member of Congress from the neighboring district of Long Island City.

If you were wondering, this site has been not even in the district of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. It was in the district of the representative Carolyn Maloney. Maloney has been in office for 26 years. Ocasio-Cortez, more passionate, has been in post for 43 days. My message to Maloney, who is pro-Amazon but did nothing about it, talks about a redesign of communication. I would say to him: Find a new director of communications or, better yet, a brand new media staff. Or, you know what, leave Congress. Because if you get fooled like that, you'll be personally embarrassed and hurt to New Yorkers who have just lost once again – once again for people in the back – year.

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