Feb 17, 2019 - Technology

"We know the game is rigged": NYC mayor slams Amazon HQ2 reversal

In a New York Times op-ed published Saturday evening, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio condemned Amazon for its decision to pull the plug on its HQ2 expansion in Queens, calling it a byproduct of massive economic power concentrated in the hands of few wealthy corporations.

"As the mayor of the nation's largest city, a place that's both a progressive beacon and the very symbol of capitalism, I share the frustration about corporate America. So do many of my fellow mayors across the country. We know the game is rigged. But we still find ourselves fighting one another in the race to secure opportunity for our residents as corporations force us into all-against-all competitions.
Amazon's HQ2 bidding war exemplified that injustice."

The big picture: De Blasio suggested that had Amazon taken the time to "talk in earnest" with local activists, the project — which "could've opened a path to the middle class for thousands of families" — might have been salvaged. Instead, Amazon decided it "didn't want to be in a city where they had to engage critics at all," which de Blasio called "a pattern."

  • "When Seattle's City Council passed a tax on big employers to fund the battle against homelessness, the company threatened to stop major expansion plans, putting 7,000 jobs at risk. The tax was rescinded."
  • De Blasio also highlighted the recent reports that Amazon paid $0 in federal income tax in 2018, despite record profits. He called it "galling," especially at a time when middle-class Americans are reportedly seeing smaller tax returns as a result of President Trump's tax plan.

The bottom line, according to de Blasio: "We just witnessed another example of what the concentration of power in the hands of huge corporations leaves in its wake. Let's change the rules before the next corporation tries to divide and conquer."

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