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Thread: Amazon campus in Seattle (biosphere content)

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    Default Re: Amazon campus in Seattle (biosphere content)

    Quote Originally Posted by Daltex View Post
    Do any of the analysis or points of view consider the lesser quantifiable benefits of having an additional 25,000 hard working, bright, ambitious folks in a certain geographical area?

    Forgive me if this was already addressed, I’m not going to read every link / post on this thread.

    Folks are talking about the $3B ‘cost’ but wouldn’t it be more accurate to view this as potential revenues that won’t be collected? Potential revenues that now definitely won’t be collected since Amazon pulled out.

    FWIW, in my region of our country folks would be thrilled to add 25,000 good new jobs to our regions’s economy along with the 25,000 bright, ambitious, good people that fill them.
    Nice story. This is what both PR and Politicians want you to focus on, the story. The question is when you look at the numbers, does it add up.

    Typically, you will see if costs more for the municipality, and the private enterprise will underdeliver. I suspect the real story is the initial announcement from Amazon is more like a MOU. When they started negotiating details, I think the city had indigestion.

    At $3b for 25,000 jobs you are subsidizing $120,000 per job. You assume the people will live in LIC. I suspect they won't. If they have families, they probably will do what I did, draw a commuting ring around work, then pick a school district.

    In a greater metro area of 20mm people, I think young ambitious bright people are already in abundance.I'm just happy they don't all believe in the philosophy of Ayn Rand.
     

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    Default Re: Amazon campus in Seattle (biosphere content)

    "AOC" et al. would have opposed Amazon coming in even if Amazon had not asked for tax incentives. If you believe otherwise I have a corporate headquarters in Queens to sell you.
     

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    Default Re: Amazon campus in Seattle (biosphere content)

    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Fox View Post
    "AOC" et al. would have opposed Amazon coming in even if Amazon had not asked for tax incentives. If you believe otherwise I have a corporate headquarters in Queens to sell you.
    I think that's pretty clear. Many of their arguments on economic fairness start with the premise that America has too many billionaires to be a healthy economy. That the number of billionaires is actually a sign of problems.

    But I think Amazon came into this thing expecting to be lauded as saviors. Their anti-union stance right from the start was a big negative for a lot of people.

    And Amazon isn't gone from NYC. They still have offices here, and they have several big warehouses within the region.

    Also - Why Tech Could Keep Gaining Ground in New York Even Without Amazon - The New York Times
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    Default Re: Amazon campus in Seattle (biosphere content)

    Quote Originally Posted by j44ke View Post
    I think that's pretty clear. Many of their arguments on economic fairness start with the premise that America has too many billionaires to be a healthy economy. That the number of billionaires is actually a sign of problems.

    But I think Amazon came into this thing expecting to be lauded as saviors. Their anti-union stance right from the start was a big negative for a lot of people.

    And Amazon isn't gone from NYC. They still have offices here, and they have several big warehouses within the region.

    Also - Why Tech Could Keep Gaining Ground in New York Even Without Amazon - The New York Times
    The most frightening number of billionaires any given country can have is one.
     

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    Default Re: Amazon campus in Seattle (biosphere content)

    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Fox View Post
    The most frightening number of billionaires any given country can have is one.
    Do you think our country would be a better place without Jeff Bezos or Amazon? How about Steve Jobs and Apple?
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    Default Re: Amazon campus in Seattle (biosphere content)

    Quote Originally Posted by Daltex View Post
    Do you think our country would be a better place without Jeff Bezos or Amazon? How about Steve Jobs and Apple?
    You are misunderstanding me. My point is the last thing any country wants is one rich guy, as in a King. We wants lots of rich people. Anyone who thinks this country would be better off without providing the opportunity to become wealthy is misguided.
     

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    Default Re: Amazon campus in Seattle (biosphere content)

    Quote Originally Posted by vertical_doug View Post
    This is what both PR and Politicians want you to focus on, the story. The question is when you look at the numbers, does it add up.
    Does it? A one-time cost of $120,000 per job tax-discount for a good employer to attract jobs that earn $150,000 for a indefinite period of years (figure a lifetime or longer). How does that not = a good deal for folks that have to work for a living to feed & support their families? That's not even including sales tax paid by employees, State income taxes, property taxes, fees, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by vertical_doug View Post

    In a greater metro area of 20mm people, I think young ambitious bright people are already in abundance.I'm just happy they don't all believe in the philosophy of Ayn Rand.
    Is there ever a point when a city can have too many young bright ambitious people? More opportunity means more options & choices, that is a good thing in my opinion.
    Glenn Thompson
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    Default Re: Amazon campus in Seattle (biosphere content)

    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Fox View Post
    You are misunderstanding me. My point is the last thing any country wants is one rich guy, as in a King. We wants lots of rich people. Anyone who thinks this country would be better off without providing the opportunity to become wealthy is misguided.
    Apologies, I mis-read your post.
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    Default Re: Amazon campus in Seattle (biosphere content)

    Quote Originally Posted by Daltex View Post
    Apologies, I mis-read your post.
    No problem. I was trying to be pithy and ended up unclear.

    So now the "victorious" politicians are acting as though they successfully fought off an asbestos factory being built next to a school yard. Economic prosperity is bad for their political aspirations, so I guess it works for them.
     

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    Default Re: Amazon campus in Seattle (biosphere content)

    I'm concerned when the 'enemy' is now defined as a business trying to find a home in the U.S. for 25,000 employees earning $150k per year. That's quite a livable wage and would have huge economic impact in the community.

    Seems interesting to me that the same folks that claim the net economic impact of an illegal immigrant, that requires governmental support, is positive yet the economic impact of tax breaks for a company providing 25,000 good high paying jobs is negative.
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    Default Re: Amazon campus in Seattle (biosphere content)

    Quote Originally Posted by Daltex View Post
    I'm concerned when the 'enemy' is now defined as a business trying to find a home in the U.S. for 25,000 employees earning $150k per year. That's quite a livable wage and would have huge economic impact in the community.

    Seems interesting to me that the same folks that claim the net economic impact of an illegal immigrant, that requires governmental support, is positive yet the economic impact of tax breaks for a company providing 25,000 good high paying jobs is negative.
    Because that's what the data reflects? These types of corporate recruiting rarely result in benefits that outweigh the incentives a state or local government pays out in tax breaks.

    But you're arguing the richest man on the planet needs a tax break to put a major office location somewhere. The man is richer than Croesus. Let him build it wherever he wants, but he should be paying his fair share of taxes wherever that happens to be.
     

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    Default Re: Amazon campus in Seattle (biosphere content)

    Quote Originally Posted by Daltex View Post
    Does it? A one-time cost of $120,000 per job tax-discount for a good employer to attract jobs that earn $150,000 for a indefinite period of years (figure a lifetime or longer). How does that not = a good deal for folks that have to work for a living to feed & support their families? That's not even including sales tax paid by employees, State income taxes, property taxes, fees, etc.

    Is there ever a point when a city can have too many young bright ambitious people? More opportunity means more options & choices, that is a good thing in my opinion.
    I agree with both these propositions, even though I understand the caveat that the devil is in the details. That's pretty good leverage, and bright, ambitious people are the key to making a place a dynamic, rewarding place to live. That's what cities are for.
     

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    Default Re: Amazon campus in Seattle (biosphere content)

    I am going to violate a promise to myself not to throw things out into the ether that may be perceived as political.

    But I am troubled that people look at this as a black and white/ jobs vs no jobs thing without looking at the nuances and bigger picture.

    Let me put my biases right upfront...

    As a native NYC resident, I am happy this went away. There is no way that LIC could have handled it physically. I look out my window and watch the insanity that is rush hour now on the 59th Street bridge between LIC and Manhattan. I can only imagine what would happen if they came to that geographically constrained area.

    As a guy who used to run a tech company in Seattle, I think Amazon’s heft and pushing around of people/ government has messed with the economics of the town (not to mention architectural and infrastructure issues). Their scale just swamped a rational operating market for ideas and talent. It’s counter intuitive but I think instead of increasing and improving the labor pool and creating new thought it lessened all of the above. There became a certain sameness of thinking and living that saps the vitality of a community over time. Of course, all of the foregoing is ATMO and I know there are many who violently disagree with me.

    I have been in situations where I have been involved in receiving for corporations or creating for industries tax breaks. I realize now that tax incentives for individual corporations only bleed taxing districts dry and are not permanent job creators. But I have also learned that common tax incentives for an entire industry are true job creators and build a sustainable infrastructure. As long as they are well thought out. And as long as other areas don’t copy it with “we could have those jobs here” but try to emulate it with “we could have jobs here if we did something like that but for a different industry”.

    Look at Made in NY which is the NYC initiative to build the film and television industry. Unfortunately, it has now been replicated by other states and cities and now even in that industry it is a race to the bottom where no one except the companies’ shareholders benefit. If they had emulated the model but for different industries, the film/ TV industry and those tens of thousands of jobs would be permanently in 4-5 regions and tens of thousands of different jobs would be permanently created in a different 4-5 regions and so on. Instead, the jobs are just temporary and move to the next new lower offer.

    And, I will point out that Google and Facebook alone have added as many tech jobs in NYC as Amazon was talking about without tax breaks. Not to mention the thousands of other tech jobs added by other companies in NYC without tax breaks.

    I also applaud the school district in Louisiana that said no to a 21 million dollar tax break to Exxon, the largest employer in town, because the school was cutting teachers, classes, and programs and pointed out that Lousiana is in a poor position relative to the rest of the country on education so really couldn’t afford to give away more.

    Sometimes you need to assess your priorities and time frame. What good is a job today if tomorrow, you won’t be able to afford to maintain roads or your children won’t have an education so they are stuck in a lifetime of no opportunity?

    Another example of the race to the bottom for the gain of stockholders (this is where I might agree with some about transfer of wealth from lower and middle to already wealthy) is Elwood, IL.

    Elwood, Illinois (Pop. 2,2), Has Become a Vital Hub of America’s Consumer Economy. And It’s Hell. | The New Republic

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    Default Re: Amazon campus in Seattle (biosphere content)

    Quote Originally Posted by Daltex View Post
    Do any of the analysis or points of view consider the lesser quantifiable benefits of having an additional 25,000 hard working, bright, ambitious folks in a certain geographical area?

    Forgive me if this was already addressed, I’m not going to read every link / post on this thread.

    Folks are talking about the $3B ‘cost’ but wouldn’t it be more accurate to view this as potential revenues that won’t be collected? Potential revenues that now definitely won’t be collected since Amazon pulled out.

    FWIW, in my region of our country folks would be thrilled to add 25,000 good new jobs to our regions’s economy along with the 25,000 bright, ambitious, good people that fill them.
    Amazon paid $0 in Federal taxes the last two years. With the giveaways in this HQ offer, they likely would have paid zero in local taxes as well.

    So no we're going to the culture benefits? What culutre benfits does the culture capital of the country need? It's New York City man.
     

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    Default Re: Amazon campus in Seattle (biosphere content)

    Quote Originally Posted by theflashunc View Post
    Amazon paid $0 in Federal taxes the last two years. With the giveaways in this HQ offer, they likely would have paid zero in local taxes as well.

    So no we're going to the culture benefits? What culutre benfits does the culture capital of the country need? It's New York City man.
    How much did their employees pay into federal taxes?

    EDIT to add, I do think it's eff'd up the company itself didn't pay anything.
    Last edited by dgaddis; 02-15-2019 at 11:58 AM.
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    Default Re: Amazon campus in Seattle (biosphere content)

    Quote Originally Posted by htwoopup View Post
    As a guy who used to run a tech company in Seattle, I think Amazon’s heft and pushing around of people/ government has messed with the economics of the town (not to mention architectural and infrastructure issues). Their scale just swamped a rational operating market for ideas and talent. It’s counter intuitive but I think instead of increasing and improving the labor pool and creating new thought it lessened all of the above. There became a certain sameness of thinking and living that saps the vitality of a community over time. Of course, all of the foregoing is ATMO and I know there are many who violently disagree with me.
    After 20 years of working in tech, I agree with you. There's an assumption that the 25,000 jobs will be a net add to the community, but in reality many of those jobs will be filled by drawing employees from all the tens of thousands of other companies in the area. Amazon will become the draw and other companies will suffer or be seen as stepping stones to get the Amazon job. This has a net negative benefit on those companies specifically and the job market and labor pool in general. While I applaud their commitment to supporting incubator startups as part of the deal (or failed deal at this point), that's just a drop in the bucket compared to the potential negative impact to the other innovative companies that are built around organic, sustainable growth and not some bs VC funded experiment.
     

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    Default Re: Amazon campus in Seattle (biosphere content)

    Quote Originally Posted by Daltex View Post
    Does it? A one-time cost of $120,000 per job tax-discount for a good employer to attract jobs that earn $150,000 for a indefinite period of years (figure a lifetime or longer). How does that not = a good deal for folks that have to work for a living to feed & support their families? That's not even including sales tax paid by employees, State income taxes, property taxes, fees, etc.

    Is there ever a point when a city can have too many young bright ambitious people? More opportunity means more options & choices, that is a good thing in my opinion.
    I agree with you - these are positive things for the life of a city.

    What concerns me is a corporation orchestrating a race to the bottom where cities compete to give away significant portions of that economic benefit to that corporation. In that scenario the "winning" city does get the additional tax revenue from the employees. But it loses the tax revenue - and quite possibly all sorts of other direct payments - from the corporation.

    Amazon doesn't need those tax breaks and other incentives. They're going after them because they can. This seems very wrong to me. We end up throwing disproportionate economic benefits at the wealthy corporation while continuing to ask everyone else to pay their fair share. So, yeah, in this circumstance Amazon is the enemy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Fox View Post
    You are misunderstanding me. My point is the last thing any country wants is one rich guy, as in a King. We wants lots of rich people. Anyone who thinks this country would be better off without providing the opportunity to become wealthy is misguided.
    I agree with you.

    But I also understand that the United States is seeing levels of income inequality rise to historic highs. This kind of concentration of wealth is bad for our country.

    I think we should raise the marginal tax rate on the ultra-rich back to where it used to be. We should use that additional revenue to fix our infrastructure, to fund education, to keep every American healthy. We should use it to increase opportunity for everyone to become wealthy.

    No one is going to stop trying to become extremely rich because they're going to have to pay 70% of their 11th million in annual income to their government.
    GO!

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    Default Re: Amazon campus in Seattle (biosphere content)

    Quote Originally Posted by Daltex View Post
    Does it? A one-time cost of $120,000 per job tax-discount for a good employer to attract jobs that earn $150,000 for a indefinite period of years (figure a lifetime or longer). How does that not = a good deal for folks that have to work for a living to feed & support their families? That's not even including sales tax paid by employees, State income taxes, property taxes, fees, etc.



    Is there ever a point when a city can have too many young bright ambitious people? More opportunity means more options & choices, that is a good thing in my opinion.
    I think it is simple. If a city has finite amount of money to spend, instead of 'PICKING' a winner, it is better off spending in on shared infrastructure (transportation hubs, schools etc) than giving it to the wealthy. If you believe GOV should not pick winners, the goal should be to provide a level field not the subsidy game. NYS has wasted billions on the whole Andy-Land concept of benefits for redevelopment. If LIC was to spend 3 bln on infrastructure (new stations, better road access, better schools) I think you'd see bigger bang for the buck.
     

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    Default Re: Amazon campus in Seattle (biosphere content)

    Quote Originally Posted by davids View Post
    I agree with you - these are positive things for the life of a city.
    What concerns me is a corporation orchestrating a race to the bottom where cities compete to give away significant portions of that economic benefit to that corporation. .
    I'm concerned too. With globalization everything seems to be a race to the bottom.

    Quote Originally Posted by davids View Post

    Amazon doesn't need those tax breaks and other incentives. They're going after them because they can. This seems very wrong to me. We end up throwing disproportionate economic benefits at the wealthy corporation while continuing to ask everyone else to pay their fair share.
    I'm not sure its a question of need. I believe its more of that Amazon by virtue of it being a for profit business is responsible to its owners (stockholders) to choose the best deal available. When i go to the doctor, i haggle. I demand every discount & break they are willing to give me. Another patient could rightfully say that i don't need discount and be offended that they didn't get similar pricing. But i 'demanded', they offered, and I accepted.

    Quote Originally Posted by davids View Post
    I agree with you - these are positive things for the life of a city.

    We end up throwing disproportionate economic benefits at the wealthy corporation while continuing to ask everyone else to pay their fair share.
    This point is a bit more troubling to me. Imagine if you owned an Amazon competitor, headquartered in the region, and were not receiving any breaks - i'd be furious. Now imagine if you're a start up tech outfit in an unrelated industry, you're not competing with Amazon for customers but you ARE competing with Amazon for talented employees. Same thing, why is the company that is poaching my employees getting freebies from the city and I'm not getting sh1t? That is a real argument that has real merits. I don't buy into 'richest guy in world' doesn't need tax breaks type arguments.
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    Default Re: Amazon campus in Seattle (biosphere content)

    Quote Originally Posted by Daltex View Post
    I'm not sure its a question of need. I believe its more of that Amazon by virtue of it being a for profit business is responsible to its owners (stockholders) to choose the best deal available. When i go to the doctor, i haggle. I demand every discount & break they are willing to give me. Another patient could rightfully say that i don't need discount and be offended that they didn't get similar pricing. But i 'demanded', they offered, and I accepted.
    I don't think a comparison using the scale of a single person is really applicable in this situation. A better comparison would probably be a health insurance company only providing coverage at medical facilities that were willing to take the smallest share of payment and send the most back to insurance.

    In neither the amazon nor the healthcare situation is it really about the actual people, though politicians and PR folks will tell you otherwise.

    People need to stop looking past the fine print as soon as they hear the word JOBS.
     

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