Any doubts the Democratic Party is drifting further and further by the day toward the extreme left should have been erased by the debacle in New York last week.
For those who missed it, Amazon announced it was abandoning plans to build a second headquarters in the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens. Amazon was feeling unwelcome because ultra liberal Democrats were raising a stink over the $3 billion in performance-based incentives state officials had promised the company.
The deal was attacked by members of the New York City Council and the state Senate, and Amazon’s decision to pull out was celebrated by the likes of U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, two of the most liberal members of Congress.
In driving out Amazon, the extreme-left Democrats not only did a disservice to the people of New York, they also showed their lack of understanding about how the process of attracting new industry works. In celebrating their win, they showed their own stupidity.
Understand, these extremists are not the Democrats from the latter half of the 20th century such as JFK, LBJ or Jimmy Carter. They don’t have the pragmatic side of a Bill Clinton. They are so far left they make Barack Obama look like a centrist. They believe in the power of government, disdain the free market and push the fairy tale of something for nothing.
In driving out Amazon, they cost New York not only 25,000 jobs, but also $27 billion in revenue the project would have generated in return for the $3 billion in incentives, as well as a much-needed chance for the finance-heavy city to diversify its economy.
Andrew Cuomo, New York’s Democratic governor, was among those left shaking his head at the damage done by others in his party.
"A small group [of] politicians put their own narrow political interests above their community -- which poll after poll showed overwhelmingly supported bringing Amazon to Long Island City -- the state's economic future and the best interests of the people of this state,” the governor said in a statement. “The New York State Senate has done tremendous damage. They should be held accountable for this lost economic opportunity."
Leading the anti-Amazon charge in the Legislature was Sen. Michael Gianaris. Among the charges he leveled at the company, if you can believe this, was that its employees in its home base of Seattle don’t eat enough at nearby restaurants after work.
"In Seattle, the local restaurants are dying," he said. "It's all insular to the campus. They go home at 5 o'clock. No one is having dinner in those restaurants."
Well, first of all, I think it’s pretty safe to say that many who work standard 8-to-5 or 9-to-5 shifts across the nation go home at 5 o’clock because they have families.
Second, Gianaris obviously didn’t do his homework. In a blog post about its Seattle campus, Amazon said this: “Importantly, unlike other tech companies, Amazon doesn’t offer free catered food to employees. In fact, Amazon’s cafeterias were purposely designed to only feed one-third of Amazon’s Seattle employees. Instead, each Amazon office building leases space to a few local restaurants (24 in all), and Amazon has purposefully eschewed offering space to national chains, choosing instead to work with local restaurateurs. Moreover, employees often leave their offices to get lunch, drinks or dinner at other local restaurants that have sprung up around Amazon buildings.”
Speaking of that Seattle campus, Amazon, in that same blog post, says it has paid employees there $25 billion in wages and invested $4 billion into the campus itself. That campus includes 44 buildings, and three more skyscrapers are planned.
Two more interesting stats for you about the company’s Seattle headquarters. Number of hotel nights used by campus visitors in 2017: 329,010. Amount paid into Seattle public transportation as part of Amazon employee benefits: $43 million.
And New York could have been next, but not anymore, because the extreme leftys there have chosen to live in fantasy land.
Here’s hoping they and their allies in the Democratic Party never get the chance to do for the entire United States what they have done for New York.
Lew Gilliland is assistant editor of The Daily Home. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.