Amazon made its long-awaited announcement this week, revealing where it will site its second headquarters, dubbed HQ2. The selection process pitted over 200 cities against each other, vying for the prospect of hosting the new corporate campus with its promised 50,000 well-paying, white-collar jobs. Politicians prostrated themselves before the online behemoth and its CEO/founder, Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, as they competed to lavish the company with as many enticing public subsidies and tax breaks as possible. The winning city would flourish, they hoped, with increasing tax revenues and the emergence of a vibrant tech hub to rival Silicon Valley. In the end, Amazon announced that HQ2 would be divided into two smaller locations, one in Queens, New York, and the other in Crystal City, Virginia. While the details of the publicly financed subsidies remain shrouded, what is known so far is enough to confirm the worst fears of Amazon’s many critics: The HQ2 auction was, at best, a boondoggle, yet another example of corporate welfare, transferring wealth from working-class taxpayers to a massive corporation and its billionaire owner.
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- News & Politics