Sunday, January 21, 2018

Amazon's New Headquarters Sweepstakes - A Plan to Win

Northeast Ohio, where I reside, won the lottery and was selected for two Amazon fulfillment centers which will employ thousands.  Let’s leave aside whether those jobs will be sustained, or replaced by robots, drones or some yet to be discovered job-killing advancement.  Of course, our win here was not quite like cashing in on a lottery ticket.  Lottery winners purchase a very cheap ticket and then cash in with a huge return on investment.  That’s why folks buy them; they pursue the dream of winning a huge windfall.  Would lotteries be as popular as they are if ticket prices were ten times as expensive?  I’ll answer that.  No.  

It's Time for this Foreigner to Step Down

The grand prize of the Amazon Sweepstakes is the site for their 2nd HQ.

Applying to become an Amazon HQ center is no cheap lottery ticket.  Cities across the country have been tripping over each other as they raced to genuflect in front of Emperor Amazon promising him zillions of dollars of tax abatements and infrastructure development over many years.   The contest started with 238 cities participating in a corporate version of the Hunger Games.  This week we learned that only 20 contestants remain.  Cleveland, my city, was jilted.  Our local government has refused to share their spurned offer with us – their bosses – presumably from embarrassment of what they were willing to give away.  City residents who are starving for social services, pot hole repair, crime prevention, educational reform and neighborhood renewal may have balked at giving away zillions of dollars to a wealthy, corporate behemoth. 

Cities across the nation and beyond shamefully fawned for attention.  Tucson sent a huge Saguaro cactus to Amazon’s Seattle HQ.  The mayor of Kansas City wrote 1000 5-star Amazon reviews.  Stonecrest, a Georgian town, offered to rename itself Amazon.

New York City, one of my favorite locales on earth, is still in the running.  Here’s what I would suggest to Mayor de Blasio to separate his city from his competitors.   Tear down the Statue of Liberty, which the Trump Administration may be planning anyway.  This foreign female colossus doesn’t comport with his America First vision.  And, it fits in well with today’s mission of monument and statue revision.  Then, rename Liberty Island to the Isle of Bezos and lease it to Amazon for a buck a year.  If de Blasio reads this post, his initial reaction will be ‘why didn’t I think of that?’

In the perfect world that we don’t live in, all cities, states and nations would agree to offer no inducements for corporations to choose them for new plants and factories.  Amazon pulled in about $44 billion in the 3rd quarter of 2017.  Are they such a fledgling company that can’t afford to set up shop on their own?


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