Socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., was not the main player who led Amazon to cancel plans to build a second headquarters in New York City. In truth, political malpractice by Democratic leaders on the state Senate was a much greater factor.
New Yorkers will suffer as a result.
Ocasio-Cortez and her radical business-hating minions played a supporting role in convincing Amazon to pull out of a deal that would have brought between 25,000 and 40,000 jobs to New York City with an average salary of more than $150,000.
Drawing enormous media coverage – especially for someone who’s only been in Congress for a few weeks – Ocasio-Cortez preaches an anti-capitalist dogma that put pressure on some Democratic state senators to jump on the bandwagon of the rising radical left.
But ultimately, it was a foolish decision by the newly minted Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins that convinced Amazon to takes its jobs and billions of dollars in new economic development and new tax revenue elsewhere, where they would be more appreciated.
Stewart-Cousins appointed fellow Democratic Sen. Michael Gianaris – who represents the Queens area near the planned Long Island City site for Amazon – to sit on a panel that would determine the company’s fate. In effect, Stewart-Cousins gave the hometown state legislator veto power over the entire Amazon plan. The sight of Democratic lawmakers giving each other high fives as they celebrated passing legislation allowed the killing of fetuses shortly before birth and killing coveted high-paying jobs was truly revolting.
If you think that’s an exaggeration, understand that years ago a single legislator – then-state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver – killed plans to build a stadium on the West Side of Manhattan. Silver sat on a three-person panel deciding the fate of the proposed stadium.
Amazon quite clearly wanted no part of a crazy, rigged system that would force the company to do backflips for a parochial legislator who would probably never approve the company’s move to New York City under any circumstances.
Who can blame Amazon? A total 238 cities in the U.S., Mexico and Canada submitted proposals to Amazon to host its second headquarters. In the end, after heated competition in which cities and states offered a variety of incentives, Amazon decided to split its new headquarters between two locations – New York City and Northern Virginia, just outside Washington.
The Virginia site has not drawn serious opposition. And officials in cities that lost out in the competition for the Amazon headquarters would no doubt be thrilled to take the billions of dollars and thousands of jobs Amazon had planned for New York.
The Amazon fiasco illustrates why poll numbers for statewide Democrats are in a free fall just months after a blue wave swept New York and the nation in the midterm elections.
Approval numbers in polling for Gov. Andrew Cuomo and U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand are at their lowest in years, with all having job performance ratings under 50 percent. This is in part because the party is being deemed to have overreached. The bloom on the rose of the state Democrats also faded quickly.
First, the newly elected Democratic majority in the state Senate passed a bill allowing abortions in the ninth month pregnancy if the mother might be psychologically harmed by giving birth. This is an extreme position that even many people like me who are pro-choice reject.
Then the Senate Democrats voted to give college tuition assistance funded by taxpayers to illegal immigrants.
And now the Senate Democrats – members of a political party that claims to be the friend of workers – have killed the Amazon project, which could have provided as many as 40,000 jobs at the company and generated thousands more jobs in the region.
The thousands of workers who would have gotten those jobs are now the big losers.
The sight of Democratic lawmakers giving each other high fives as they celebrated passing legislation allowed the killing of fetuses shortly before birth and killing coveted high-paying jobs was truly revolting.
It seems the Democrats, at least in the New York state Senate, started buying their own hype. They boasted of how they had a mandate to usher in new progressive ideas that had been stymied for decades by an intransigent, out-of-touch, Republican-controlled Senate.
Newspaper editorials gushed over the rapidity of passage of the flurry of legislation by the radical Democrats, even comparing it to the first 100 days of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal.
But once the dust settled, independent-minded New Yorkers who took a chance on total Democratic control of state government soon realized they have created an unchecked monster.
While political pundits mark success by how many legislative wins an administration or a party delivers, average residents look instead to the manner in which their quality of life will be affected by the actions of elected officials.
Losing thousands of well-paid job doesn’t sit well with New Yorkers looking for career advancement and a bigger paycheck. They were tasting this awesome opportunity of going to work for Amazon or for other businesses that would be created by Amazon’s economic impact. Now they will suffer because the Democrats they just elected pulled defeat from the jaws of victory.
This is an issue that hits voters in the wallet and quite literally changes the course of their lives. In addition to providing jobs, Amazon would have paid billions of dollars in state and local taxes.
As Gov. Cuomo – who worked hard to attract Amazon to New York City – said in a statement, the tax money from Amazon could be used “to fund transit improvements, new housing, schools and countless other quality of life improvements.”
When New York voters go to the polls again in statewide and national elections in 2020 many will no doubt remember how they were hurt by extremist Democrats. Many will cast ballots for Republicans who are far more likely to stimulate economic expansion and job creation that will benefit working families. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Republican take control of the state Senate again.