back to article Hands up who isn't p!*$ed off about Amazon's new HQ in New York and Virginia?

If regulators ever do get around to reining in the ecommerce steamroller that is Amazon, this week's announcement of his new headquarters may be the spark. For years, companies selling online have complained about being screwed over by Amazon: forced to play by its rules; pressured into massive discounts; coerced into letting …

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  1. Keef

    It just proves...

    Most elected officials/politicians are just in in for themselves and are mostly stupid.

    Most business people are just in it for themselves and are a bit less stupid than people who got elected to a position.

    I use the word 'most' in both cases because there are exceptions, not all that many though.

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: It just proves...

      From the Atlantic's article:-

      Thus a state with declining wages for many public-school teachers could wind up paying more than $500,000 per net new Foxconn job

      States have bigger problems. There's wage pressure from public sector workers, especially if an influx of new jobs leads to gentrification, rising rents and other living costs (Hello, San Fran!) and pressure on public schools & other infrastructure. And then to top that, massive pension liabilities or just finding money to patch up potholes.

      So the residents will pick up the tab for massive displays of corporate welfare on the slim possibility that the move will create wealth to cover the costs. And given the tax breaks that get offered, those won't come from the corporates themselves. But other than risking re-election, the politicians doling out the welfare have no skin in the game, other than perhaps finding future consulting/lobbying gigs or help with fund raising.

      And in Amazon's case, it's perhaps a little less palatable given it's effect on traditional US retailers, with the corresponding loss of jobs.. Which then leads to declining tax receipts and increased welfare costs. I don't know what the solution would look like, other than perhaps collusion to no-bid these types of deals. Or I guess you could try contractually writing in state benefits, ie if Foxconn or Amazon promise thousands of jobs, but don't deliver, they pay. The deals do often seem to be very bad business for the states that 'win' these deals though.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well yeah, duh

    NY for finance and VA for intelligence community.

    1. Mayday Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Well yeah, duh

      "VA"

      JEDI (and future friends) maybe?

    2. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Well yeah, duh

      Not necessarily.

      Its a question of who ponied up a ton of tax incentives.

      Financial markets... NYC/NJ, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, etc .... So there's no need to be in NY for that.

      Government? If VA is so important, what did a certain 'No Such Agency' open up a data center in Utah?

      The funny thing... you're not going to find a single plot in most cities that can house 50K people or cities that can absorb the influx. I said most, but in Chicago, you could. There's one plot down the road from me. It would have been the best location because of location of transportation where you can live 20 miles away and still have an easy commute. (Metra) then private bus or walk to campus.

      The only thing that needs to be in VA are lobbyists.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Well yeah, duh

        The NSA thing in Utah is a data center, these are clearly not. That was about cheap power and cooling, this is about having 10's of thousands of workers located to hobnob with the various HQ personnel of Amazon's various masters/partners in crime. CIA HQ, Goldman HQ, JPM HQ...

        See also "revolving door"... Bureaucrats and executives prefer to move up the food chain without having to move.

  3. JohnFen Silver badge

    *raises hand*

    I'm not pissed off about it. This is an issue I could not possibly care less about. If I lived in those places, though, I'd likely be a bit upset.

    1. Glen 1 Bronze badge

      Re: *raises hand*

      After reading your comment: For a moment, I thought I'd wandered into a brexit tort

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: *raises hand*

        I don't understand what you're saying here -- are you approving or disapproving of my comment?

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: *raises hand*

      Exactly.. my state didn't bite and so my taxes won't go up. It really is a corporate world and governments just pay out taxpayer money for them. I can see it for roads, infrastructure, but basically it's become a bribe that's paid to the corporate bottom line.

  4. bombastic bob Silver badge
    Meh

    I wish they'd do that for SMALL businesses...

    except that corporate welfare and LIBERAL donors [and their mega-corporations] go hand-in-hand...

    it's easier to influence a small number of people running a BIG company, than a bunch of people running SMALL companies, to "donate" to campaigns of politicians that delivered the goods.

    THAT, and the potential of manipulation going on.

    /me not relying on GUMMINT for my success. nope. FAT CHANCE getting anything FROM gummint, anyway. All they do is TAKE, and give to those who do NOT deserve it.

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: I wish they'd do that for SMALL businesses...

      They won't do it for small businesses because they're SMALL and can't promise (and not deliver) hundreds of jobs and lots of tax payments like the huge mega-corps.

      I don't see this as bad. Amazon did a shrewd business move with this "contest" and it's not their fault the cities fell all over themselves with handouts.

      I know Orlando only offered $400m and a bit of land and honestly wasn't that interested. We've already got Mauswitz, er, Duckau, um, Disney as the local Boss Tweed.

    2. Glen 1 Bronze badge

      Re: I wish they'd do that for SMALL businesses...

      Bob sometimes your posts are really funny.

      Change the word LIBERAL for CONSERVATIVE and your post still stands.

      Its almost as if someones LIBERAL or CONSERVATIVE-ness has nothing to do with it.

      (Except for WHICH mega-corporations get the PORK. Which is why its easier to buy off both than to pick a side)

    3. Wade Burchette

      Re: I wish they'd do that for SMALL businesses...

      This is not a liberal or conservative thing. The US has the best government money can buy, and both political parties are bought and paid for by corporate donors. If the democrat politicians complaining about this (and they are right to complain) get a huge political donation from Amazon, they would change their attitude immediately, guaranteed.

    4. MonkeyCee Silver badge

      Re: I wish they'd do that for SMALL businesses...

      "/me not relying on GUMMINT for my success. nope. FAT CHANCE getting anything FROM gummint, anyway. All they do is TAKE, and give to those who do NOT deserve it."

      Yeah, I pay my bloody taxes, and all I get is safety, security and infrastructure. Healthcare too, but YMMV on that.

      I have friends and neighbors who have fled warzones. They can give you a VERY long list of things that they are grateful to the GUMMINT for. Starting with not rounding them up and shooting them.

      Mainly the government ensures that you can live in the wealthiest 20% of the worlds population.

      Oh, and corporate welfare is total bullshit, whatever your political ideology. Worst aspects of communism and market capitalism combined. It could work on a small scale, since stopping SMEs dying in the first five years is probably worth more than keeping any mega corp going.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Corporate welfare is not "liberal"

        I guess you think Donald Trump and Scott Walker are liberals then. They are the ones who made that horrible deal with Foxconn that screwed Wisconsin taxpayers out of billions - and in that case they weren't tax incentives that's actual money Wisconsin is giving them. Walker didn't lose re-election by much, it is pretty obvious that bad deal is why he got booted from office. Unfortunately his successor won't be able to undo that deal.

        1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

          Re: Corporate welfare is not "liberal"

          Foxcon isn't necessarily a bad deal.

          Foxcon wanted IL but IL is a mess. So they went over the border.

          The only real issue is Lake Michigan water supply.

  5. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Contract void?

    So, why are the two cities not withdrawing the offer if they are expected to still give the same amount for only half the Amazon investment? Were they so stupid as to agree a contract which allows Amazon to do what it likes while holding the "winning" cities strictly to the letter of contact agreement?

    1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

      Re: Contract void?

      The discount is based on the number of jobs they actually bring in.

    2. Mongrel

      Re: Contract void?

      I reckon it's because Amazon did it much more brazenly than they wanted and as such shone a light on how deep the officials are in the pockets of the big corporations.

      It's only bad when they get caught doing it.

  6. Herby Silver badge

    They probably...

    Wouldn't have gotten such a "big deal" if they hadn't done the "competition". If they stated before hand we're doing HQ2 at ..., then there would be no incentive for the towns/states to give up anything.

    Amazon needed something to bargain against. If you are the only one playing the game, then you are the "lowest bidder" no matter what you price yourselves at. Two bidders makes a contest.

    They needed to "play the field" and they did it very well.

    Our local sillycon valley mayor of San Jose, said "no thanks", and passed. He probably saw the writing on the wall and decided that any response wasn't worth the effort. Others took the bait, and went through the motions and got nothing for their effort. Oh, well.

  7. Denarius Silver badge
    Meh

    about time

    all democracies or pretenders to the title abolish the political classes by abolishing self selecting organisations usually called political parties. The need to be bought, sorry, ask for donations then stops. Set 4 or 5 year terms for a single city or state council and replace the 20 or 25% as appropriate every year after 5 years. Select members by random ballot. Once having served time on council, citizens name is removed forever. No advertising, no point in targeting voters because there are none. Oh, and any use of public money cannot be in secret, NDA or protected by trade secrets nonesense. If the activity is funded by citizens, it is to be public knowledge. This applies to TLA so taxpayers can see what is being spent on empires, internal and external.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: about time

      This just doesn't work. Not everybody is suitable for political work. Not all stuff politicians do and speak about can be public knowledge. Some of it is indeed privacy sensitive and needs to be kept secret. And you'd better pay the same or more as what they are currently making or some people will refuse. Threatening with jail time is not going to work either because no-one is going to a good job on a job they are forced to do. So everything gets half-arsed and "good enough"-ed. Which is a good way to even more mediocrity than we get now.

    2. strum Silver badge

      Re: about time

      >Select members by random ballot.

      ...and get inexperienced politicians the lobbyists can run rings round, and who haven't a clue how to put together a broad-based network of interlinked policies.

    3. tel130y

      Re: about time

      And then you woke up....

  8. FozzyBear Silver badge
    WTF?

    If these big businesses can make the elected muppets sing and dance like that on the off chance that they may relocate their headquarters. it tells you in no uncertain terms who really rules the world.

  9. cd

    I saw them for the bag of dicks they are back when free shipping was purposely delayed by waiting a week to ship. Since then rarely use them. I do maybe one order a year, stuff unavailable elsewhere and with no deadline, so they aren't twisting my arm with their delay game.

    Corporate subsidies should be abolished. "Let the market decide" is like saying "let the drunk guy drive" but if that's what they want let's give it to them, especially when it hurts.

  10. Eddy Ito Silver badge

    Crony capitalists* are happy

    Just to name a couple. There's Bill de Blasio and Andrew M. Cuomo who are as happy as a pair of eels screwing in a bucket of snot over the Amazon HQ2 (2-1/3, 2-7/16, sqrt(5)?) announcement.

    *Maybe capitalists is the wrong word, money grubbing bureaucrats?

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Crony capitalists* are happy

      "*Maybe capitalists is the wrong word, money grubbing bureaucrats?"

      Whatever happened to 'Capatalist Running Dogs'?

      i quite like that one...

      /tiny writing rules...!

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Crony capitalists* are happy

        "Whatever happened to 'Capatalist Running Dogs'?"

        I always thought that was "capitalist running pig-dogs."

        1. BGatez

          Re: Crony capitalists* are happy

          replaced with "a$$h0les" which about covers it

        2. Eddy Ito Silver badge

          Re: Crony capitalists* are happy

          Ah, I have the definitive word, it should be pwned bitches so says Amazon Cuomo.

          I can't help but wonder how he gets the brown off his nose and whether Bezos gets tired of washing Cuomo's lipstick off his penis.

  11. Jim Mitchell
    Alert

    As I heard it, "Seattle, New York City, and Washington DC" describes not just Amazon's HQs, current and future, but where Bezos has residences. Coincidence? Or was this conclusion foregone from the getgo?

    1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      Ah, I detect the unmistakable scent of cold hard truth in that statement. Actually it's very strong and quite overwhelming with just a hint of napalm.

      Well done.

    2. Wade Burchette

      I wonder who owns the Washington Post ... hmm?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Better have my money

      Bezos, pimp of all government fools.

      Congratulations New York and Virginia for volunteering to pay for the privilege of becoming his B's

  12. FuzzyWuzzys Silver badge
    Facepalm

    A huge free PR exercise for Amazon

    The guy from New Jersey nailed it perfectly, you've all been played for suckers by Bezos and chums. You've played this up, hyped Amazon to the hilt and all this PR or free, I bet Amazon couldn't believe how well the plan worked! Jeez, what a bunch of rubes, ha ha!

  13. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

    A billion here, a billion there...

    "Amazon is a billion-dollar company," [Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-14th district)] tweeted...

    Our American friends could be more careful with whom they elect to various posts.

    I understand Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is of Puerto-Rican descent, and in Puerto Rico they may use the "long scale" (10^9 = millardo or mil millones, 10^12 = billón) on occasion, but not, AFAIK, for economics or finance. However, she was born in the US, and her audience is American, and AMZN is a trillion-dollar company (well, it briefly was just a short while ago and is not far away now) on the American "short scale" (10^9 = billion, 10^12 = trillion).

    So, either the newly elected Representative doesn't know how big AMZN really is or she is at risk of being confused by budget numbers. Either option would look worrisome to me if I were American.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A billion here, a billion there...

      How can Amazon be a "trillion" dollar company if it's not a "trillion" dollar company? by your own explanation you have proved the woman of Puerto-Rican descent absolutely correct. They might have been a "trillion" dollar company but right now they are not and thus cannot be called a "trillion" dollar company.

      That's like me having £10 and then spending £2 on a spatula. I no longer have £10 and you can't call say I'm worth £10 either, I can however make some eggs for breakfast. Which is nice.

      1. Spazturtle Silver badge

        Re: A billion here, a billion there...

        "you can't call say I'm worth £10 either,"

        Yes you can, you have £8 in cash and £2 in spatulas, making £10 total.

    2. TomG

      Re: A billion here, a billion there...

      From some of the comments Ms. Cortez has made, she seems as smart(dumb) as a bag of rocks. She will be a millionaire by the end of her term as she will be easily bought.

    3. Trilkhai

      Re: A billion here, a billion there...

      I understand Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is of Puerto-Rican descent, and in Puerto Rico they may use the "long scale" ... So, either the newly elected Representative doesn't know how big AMZN really is or she is at risk of being confused by budget numbers. Either option would look worrisome to me if I were American.

      You know, there's a word for the practice of making assumptions about people based on their ancestry rather than on their own words & actions...

      1. LucreLout Silver badge

        Re: A billion here, a billion there...

        You know, there's a word for the practice of making assumptions about people based on their ancestry rather than on their own words & actions...

        How on earth did you jump to the race card based on the ponderings to which you responded?

        My view of the post to which you responded was that the poster was discussing something similar to this:

        https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/explore/how-many-is-a-billion/

        Geography might very well be relevant to the discussion, even if the poster may end up being wrong about American trillions vs Puerto Rican trillions.

        I understand Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is of Puerto-Rican descent, and in Puerto Rico they may use the "long scale"

        I've looked again and can't find anything suggestive that Puerto Ricans can't add up in the OP. Specifically which part of the post are you assuming is racism? I'm genuinely confused rather than looking for an argument.

    4. BGatez

      Re: A billion here, a billion there...

      Honestly as an expression of immense wealth a billion serves nicely. As an American I'm not especially worried by your nit picking nonsense. I think Brits have an expression for idiot compatriots, "f**kwits".

  14. eldakka Silver badge

    Elaborate?

    turns out instead to have been an elaborate scheme to drag the very best incentives out of cities where Amazon may have wanted to move from day one.

    Doesn't seem particularly elaborate to me. Perfectly straightforward and simple. Cunning would seem more like it.

  15. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Considering what Amazon pays it's employees versus what the State offered for "incentives" per employee, the States just paid Amazon's labor bills for awhile. The key I suppose is "how long does Amazon have to stay in the State and at what employment level?

  16. gekko

    The New York location is actually Long Island City, which is an area in the Borough of Queens, which is one of the five boroughs that make up New York City.

    1. Merrill

      I don't see Long island City being attractive for employees

      I've been to the building where Citi Corp is giving up 1 million square feet that Amazon will move into.

      I guess it is part of the attempt to redevelop the Queens and Brooklyn bank of the East River.

  17. 0laf Silver badge
    Facepalm

    I don't blame Amazon, it is a corporate entity evolved to hoover up cash and spit out profits. It played those idiot politicians like a fiddle.

    It speaks a breat deal about the vanity and stupidity of our elected officials and I mean that globally not just for the region in the story. The UK parliament and Brexit is another example of the patients taking over the asylum or The Dilbert Principle in action.

  18. Jonathon Green

    I like Americans, they’re funny...

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