Friday, February 15, 2019

Whither Amazon

From The Queens Chronicle, Amazon announces it will not come to Queens, Feb. 14, 2019
From The Queens Chronicle, Gianaris may be able to veto the HQ2 deal, Feb. 7 2019

I hadn't come to any conclusion as to whether I would support Amazon HQ2 in Long Island City or not but it no longer matters and so I never will.

Since Amazon has announced that they are pulling out of the Long Island City deal, this is all a moot point. But since I started writing this post (and just about had finished it) before the announcement, I may as well finish it as a postmortem examination of some of the reasons to support the plan and reasons to oppose it. But what stands out as most inexplicable is how the opposition, instead of sticking to the facts, which were persuasive enough, veered off into emotion laded diatribes, outright lies and downright nonsense to unnecessarily pad the opposition case.

In the case of the rank and file progressive NPCs, it's all emotion based on their conception of who are the "good guys" and who are the "bad guys". For an emoter, it cannot be lying because that implies first having reason and a knowledge of facts then to make a conscious effort to distort the facts and reason to knowingly manipulate others for one's own gain. The rank and file progressive emoter really gains nothing here and their reactions are all based on how they are triggered. Besides, it's not a lie if you really believe it.

But there are others with logical, if sordid reasons for lies and distortions.
Just spitballing here but it may have been that the opposition was designed to shake Amazon down for local political and special interests. This is New York, you know. You gotta pay to play and certain people have to get their beaks wet too. I have to wonder if the political opposition wasn't playing the "bad cop" to Governor Cuomo's "good cop" to attempt a shakedown. Lure the sucker in the door with a sweet deal then stick him with concessions and payouts. Like I said, I'm just spitballing here and maybe this scenario is totally wrong.

Whatever the case, Jeff Bezos knew that New York needed Amazon more than Amazon needed New York and he wasn't the dumb, easy to be played rube that the New York sharks thought he was. It's hard to imagine a New York politician kicking money out of bed so if the political establishment really wanted Amazon to set up shop in LIC, they very stupidly overplayed their hand.

End of this new post.

Anyway, Here is the original post as I was thinking the controversy through.

I haven't any firm opinion on the subject of the proposed Amazon HQ2 in Long Island City. There are positive aspects and some possible negative aspects. But much of what I have read in opposition is little more than boilerplate "big corporations bad, run by mean people" which goes to show how well the early 20th century demonization of successful entrepreneurs has worked. It was based on lies then and it is based on lies now.

But there are real reasons to question or oppose the Amazon HQ2 in Long Island City that are serious enough that it makes no sense to hide behind lies and leftist propaganda. But whoever said emoters made any kind of sense?

When NYC Councilman Van Bramer and NY State Senator Gianaris (who incidently supported Amazon HQ2 before they opposed it) claim that the people of New York are giving Amazon $3 billion in tax subsidies, they make it appear as if the money is coming directly from the state and city coffers going directly into Jeff Bezos pocket. This immediately sends bad feels triggers to all the bottom feeder liberal progressive parasites and associated activist groups, already in the public trough, who somehow think that they've lost $3 billion to some rich guy that otherwise would have somehow gone to them thus setting them off on mindless screeches of disapproval. Appealing to the basest of human instincts such as greed and envy still works wonders when manipulating the non-thinking emoter crowd.

Usually if a cadre of venal and rapacious leftist activist groups are against something, knowing them to be typically liars of such dismal character and low intelligence, I would tend to initially look favorably on it even knowing little or nothing else about the subject. On a closer look at the subject, this has proven to me over the years to be a good rule of thumb and to be usually a safe bet to take like assuming a politician is lying when making campaign promises.

However, to say Amazon will cost New York $3 billion is a blatant lie. The truth is that Amazon will still pay taxes but just not as much which as I understand would be about $1.2 billion per year instead of $3 billion per year for the next 10 years. So New York would see an extra $1.2 billion in its coffers that it did not have before instead of $3 billion. I'd say this is a positive thing about Amazon HQ as $1.2 billion and the income taxes from workers hired by Amazon (as well as the money they would spend in the local economy) is better than the nothing we would have without Amazon but I'm still not fully swayed to support Amazon HQ yet.

Some other issues I've heard (read actually) being bandied about are somehow Amazon HQ2 in LIC will threaten local mom and pop shops. This is utter nonsense as Amazon is an internet company which does business online and will continue to do so wherever Amazon locates its offices. It changes nothing as far as the local mom and pop shops are concerned.

Enough of the nonsense. Let's look at the real problems.

First up would be the additional traffic on the streets and increased ridership on the trains. Yes this is a problem that should be weighed against the benefits of more tax revenues and the number of employees that would be hired who in turn would spend money on the surrounding local businesses. Will the extra revenues be used to alleviate these problems, would the proposed solutions be real, practicable solutions that really solve problems rather than another dog and pony show.  My issue here would be exactly how many people would be employed by Amazon HQ2, the real number, as the number being bandied about might well be exaggerated. Further, how many would be hired locally and not just imported Team Jeff people.

Next up would be the effect on real estate prices. Increased demand means increased price which usually has a ripple effect on surrounding neighborhoods. This deal works well for the lords of tower town and would pave the way for more towers to be built which as I see it, is a bad thing. High density populations need a lot more services like fire, police, ambulance, hospitals and schools then there already are. How good can the standard of living really be with people living packed in like sardines in big, glass boxes. This depends, of course, on how well paid Amazon employees will be to afford to live in tower town and how many of them in that income bracket will choose to live there.

Did anyone ever think what might happen with a Grenfell Tower event of how well a serious communicable disease would spread through such a densely packed mass of people into an epidemic?

I don't trust wing and a prayer plans. Too many assumptions that may not pan out with the possibility of unforeseen problems making an inconvenient appearance and no plan 'B' as a backup.

Finally there is the issue of the Amazon HQ2 deal being worked out behind closed doors with the governor and bureaucrats negotiating with Bezos. Even with the best of intentions, this is a bad look as it appears our executive and managerial ruling class betters believe the citizens are incapable of understanding the issues and are not competent to decide what is best for them. The citizenry, the local communities should have been asked their opinion and had some input into the plans as it is they who must live with the consequences of the decisions made in regards to Amazon's location.

Donald Cavaioli

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