When Amazon scrapped plans to build its “HQ2” facility in New York, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez waxed poetic on Twitter:
Anything is possible: today was the day a group of dedicated, everyday New Yorkers & their neighbors defeated Amazon’s corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world. https://t.co/nyvm5vtH9k
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 14, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez objected to the state’s offer of tax credits to Amazon, the bulk of which would be paid out over a ten-year period conditional on Amazon’s reaching hiring and salary targets. While ad-hoc tax incentives are a sloppy and ineffective means of attracting businesses, the specific policy questions here are less salient than the hostility towards business voiced by Ocasio-Cortez and her coterie.
The state never revoked the tax credits, and Amazon could have proceeded apace. Amazon’s management chose not to because they didn’t want to be in close proximity to lawmakers intent on kneecapping them at every turn.
The city’s unemployment rate now stands at 13.2 percent, nearly double the 6.9 percent national rate.
Amazon has embarked on an extraordinary hiring binge this year, vacuuming up an average of 1,400 new workers a day and solidifying its power as online shopping becomes more entrenched in the coronavirus pandemic…
Amazon’s rapid employee growth is unrivaled in the history of corporate America. It far outstrips the 230,000 employees that Walmart, the largest private employer with more than 2.2 million workers, added in a single year two decades ago. The closest comparisons are the hiring that entire industries carried out in wartime, such as shipbuilding during the early years of World War II or home building after soldiers returned, economists and corporate historians said…
Of its 810,000 workers who are in the United States, about 85 percent are frontline employees in warehouses and operations who earn a minimum of $15 an hour. That is higher than traditional retail work, where an average sales worker makes $13.19 an hour, but lower than typical warehousing jobs. On Thursday, Amazon said it would pay bonuses of $300 for full-time employees and $150 for part-time employees.
Anything is possible, indeed.