AOC was mostly right: Giant subsidies to Amazon are a bad idea

The news: https://www.wsj.com/articles/amazon-hq2-announcement-lic-crystal-city-nashville-1542121089?mod=hp_lead_pos2

Even National Review has to agree that AOC is right, at least in part, with her objections: https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/rep-alexandria-ocasio-cortez-is-right-about-amazons-corporate-welfare/

On the air I mentioned a particularly interesting study about the subsidies offered to attract Amazon. Here's the link: https://www.mercatus.org/system/files/farren_and_philpot_-_policy_brief_-_amazon_hq2_the_story_so_far_-_v1.pdf

My thoughts: On one hand it looks like VA and NY are offering about $100,000 per anticipated created job. When you combine the obvious potential tax revenue (income taxes) with less obvious tax revenue (sales taxes and property taxes) and any potential multiplier effect which would increase tax revenue from those who benefit indirectly from the newly created jobs, it's not necessarily an insane number, especially if the subsidies were tied to actual job creation. 

BUT, as the Mercatus study notes, it is very unlikely that the subsidies were a major factor in Amazon's decision. Each location's subsidy was approximately equal to Amazon's last quarterly profit, and the subsidies will be occur over at least 15-20 years. Therefore, they were probably not in the list of the key decision-drivers for the company. Which means they likely could have been much less generous and still resulted in the company choosing those locations.

The one thing I do know: My listeners and I, suffering through horrendous Denver traffic and a persistent shortage of reasonably priced housing inventory, breathed a sigh of relief when Amazon did not include our fair city among their winners. Maybe one day we'll know what our government actually offered Amazon to entice them to come here; I have a feeling it wasn't very much, which would have been one of the few things John Hickenlooper got right in recent years.

 
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