RUSH: Susan in Richmond, Virginia. I wanted to get started. This is a good point she’s gonna make. How you doing, Susan? Welcome to the program.
CALLER: Thank you, Rush. I wanted to share some hope. I was reading Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Twitter feed, I think it was on November 12th, she wrote in response to Amazon moving their headquarters into her neighborhood, she said when we talk about bringing jobs to the community, we need to dig deep. And then she asked, has the company promised to hire in the existing community? And the first thing I thought was, she’s a Queens firster. She’s a Queensist, she’s not a globalist, if she’s thinking about her constituents first.
RUSH: Wait, wait, wait, wait. She’s a what firster?
CALLER: She’s a Queens firster.
RUSH: Oh, Queens in New York. Okay. Yeah, yeah.
RUSH: What Susan’s talking here about is Amazon’s HQ2, their second headquarters in Long Island City in New York, and she’s upset that Amazon has been given a tax break of essentially $65,000 per employee to locate in Long Island City. And even though she doesn’t know why, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is right about this. You have to say that.
RUSH: It’s actually $78,000 per employee that Amazon is getting a tax break for locating headquarters in Long Island City. Now, this is corporate cronyism on steroids is what this is. And I will explain when we get back.
RUSH: I have to tell you that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is right, and I doubt that she knows why. She has an instinct on this. Her anti-corporate instinct is what has led her to being correct about this.
Here’s what happened. Amazon decided they needed a second headquarters. They’re out in Seattle. Jeff Bezos wants to spread the wealth around, needs a second headquarters. And he started a bids process. And he went to a bunch of different cities and states and started having them make pitches as to which one would do the most to get his headquarters located there. And it was a heated competition.
And, as always happens, as always happens, a state — in this case, New York — promised tax breaks out the wazoo if Amazon would locate in their state. So Amazon chose — I’m really giving the compressed version of the story to get to the point. They chose Long Island City, which is right across the river from Manhattan, and New York cut the deal that will give them tax breaks that are the equivalent of about $78,000 per employee that Amazon is gonna hire.
Now, this has a number of deleterious effects. Number one, of all corporations out there that do not need an incentive or tax break to locate anywhere, it would be Amazon. Now, New York can do what it wants, but this is totally unnecessary. The reason this stinks, how many existing small businesses are there in New York state today which started from scratch, which have to scratch and scrap and struggle to stay alive each and every day, and they’re not getting any kind of a tax break. They’re not getting any kind of incentive.
Meanwhile, Amazon is getting the equivalent of $78,000 per employee in combined tax breaks, meaning that’s how much tax they will not pay, in exchange for locating and creating that many jobs in New York and New York City. What also happens as a result of this is — I mean, Bezos is not a conservative and not a Republican — this furthers and cements the whole corporate cronyism idea of Democrat-led companies becoming partnered with government. And whoever Amazon’s competitors are now, are at a huge disadvantage. They have nowhere near this kind of tax break or other kind of assistance.
It’s kind of like, you know, during the Obama presidency was when I first noticed this, although it predates that. There’s been a lot of conventional wisdom out there that CEOs and Big Business types are Republicans because they are against taxes and oppressive government and regulations and so it’s a natural fit that CEOs and other business executives would be Republican. That’s so far away from the truth that it’s not even funny anymore. In fact, it’s the exact opposite.
Once presidents and governors signaled that they would enter into cronyism relationships with specific, selected chosen corporations or companies, then it became much easier for a company to sign a deal with government as a means of beating its competition outside the marketplace.
I’ll give you an example, Walmart and Costco. Walmart’s this giant behemoth. Costco’s a big behemoth as well. But Walmart got in bed with Obama on the minimum wage. And they got some considerations from Obama for it. They went along with raising the minimum wage. Walmart said, “This is fine with us,” because it wasn’t gonna cost them as much as it was gonna cost Costco. And in this way they were able to compete against a competitor using their exclusive relationship, their crony relationship with the Obama administration.
GE did the same thing. Jeffrey Immelt, the CEO of GE. Well, once this kind of arrangement started, once there became cronyism and crony relationships between CEOs and companies and government, then out the window goes that corporation’s concern for regulation and taxes because they’re benefiting already from the relationship with government.
The way it happened with GE, General Electric didn’t need at the time any loans or any government investment in whatever plants it had, but it made the deal with Obama, GE got — I forget how much money it was. I wish I could remember. It was an exorbitant amount of money to research and develop some aspect of their business. And in exchange, Immelt ends up on Obama’s national employment council or what have you, and they’re in bed together. The United States government, the presidency of Barack Obama and General Electric, their competitors were not.
But the real problem here is that, you know, I hate talking in terms of who needs and who doesn’t need. That’s leftist lingo. “You don’t need to earn that much money. You don’t need that much. You shouldn’t have that much. You shouldn’t earn that. You shouldn’t be making that kind of money.” I hate discussions like that, but if the government of New York is gonna be in the business of passing out tax breaks, there are a lot more worthwhile potential recipients than Amazon.
But they can’t bring to Andrew Cuomo’s table what Amazon can. Amazon can hire a hell of a lot of people and revitalize a moribund, defunct part of Long Island City that the state can’t or won’t or no other small business could. And Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is opposed to this. You would think it’s Amazon, it’s Jeff Bezos, she should love it, it’s one of her buddies. But as a dyed-in-the-wool, an avowed socialist, she hates corporations, and she hates any advantage they are given, and especially by government.
So she’s on the warpath on this. And even though she doesn’t know fully why, her instincts are making her correct about this. But this is how relationships between gigantic CEOs and corporations, and in this case the Democrat Party, begin. Now, you might say, “Well, isn’t true Trump doing it?” No, Trump’s actually not forming crony relationships.
Trump is actually changing policy that would benefit all manufacturing businesses and all others. “Well, what about the big deal made with Foxconn to go into Wisconsin?” Well, that was a Wisconsin deal that was made with Foxconn. Trump was involved. Foxconn is the assembler of iPhones and other electronic gadgets, and they’re headquartered in Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China. And I think the original plan was to build LCD displays for television sets in automobile dashboards, not phones or whatever.
And it was in part because Trump was suggesting that Apple and other American companies which do a lot of manufacturing in China bring some of that work to the United States, and so Apple was eager and a lot of people that work with Apple were eager to satisfy Trump; so they relocated, or they built a factory in the process in Wisconsin. And Wisconsin doled out some tax breaks to Foxconn to do this. So it’s become a way of life.
All these people get all upset over cities and states subsidizing sports stadiums for billionaire owners. It’s the same stuff. But you don’t go to Amazon to watch the Steelers or the Giants or whatever. You go to the stadiums where they play. And so, since you as a citizen get to benefit, it’s okay if they fund a stadium. Some people. Not all.