Speaking on Sunday in an interview with Yahoo News’ “Skullduggery,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) made it clear she has no regrets about scuttling the Amazon deal that would have brought a reported 25,000 jobs to New York City, and questioned where the 25,000 number even came from. Ocasio-Cortez also resorted to deflecting by once again repeating her mantra about the problems with the New York City subway, though time and again it has been pointed out to her (even by leftist NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio) that the tax break Amazon would have obtained by locating in New York City was not money that could have funded the subway.
Host Michael Isikoff commented, “You made a big splash early on by speaking out against Amazon’s deal to put their headquarters in Queens; there was a Siena College poll just this past week that showed 57% of voters in your district that thought Amazon’s withdrawal was bad for the city and 58% thought it would be good for Amazon to reconsider. Do you have any reconsidering thoughts on your end about your opposition to a deal that would have brought 25,000 jobs to the city?”
Ocasio-Cortez began by questioning the 25,000 number: “So here’s a couple of things on that. One is that, and I said this from the very beginning: where does that 25,000 number come from? Everyone always cites this number and it is almost completely unsubstantiated, it almost feels like it only comes from Amazon that’s saying, that’s promising this. When you actually look —”
Isikoff interjected, “So what if it was only 15,000 jobs?”
Ocasio-Cortez sidestepped the question, answering, “And …. so … even then, my opposition was less, and is less, than something personal with Amazon, and is more about the structure of the deal. And when you’re looking at three billion (dollars), which includes, it’s not all tax cuts, a lot of people say this thing pays for itself. First of all, revenue neutral, I don’t know if revenue neutral is the goal we need right now. Secondly, 25,000 jobs at $150,000 is was what was promised.”
(For the record, Ocasio-Cortez was misquoting Amazon, which spoke of an average salary of $150,000 for the 25,000 projected jobs. As CNBC reported last November, speaking of Amazon’s plans to build new locations in New York City, northern Virginia, and Nashville, Tennessee, “In all three locations, the average salary for new employees will exceed $150,000 per year, Amazon announced.”)
Back to Ocasio-Cortez: “Does that sound like, (laughing) realistic? Does that sound like something that was going to happen, first of all? Second of all, do we really think that Amazon is trying to give 150k jobs to kids in NYCHA? Third of all, our subway is literally falling apart. Literally falling apart.”
Then she said, “So for me my opposition was less, and by the way, my opposition being like, five tweets, and apparently five tweets took down the richest man in the world and I’m responsible, right?”
Iskoff, gushing, “Everything you tweet, scooped up by 3.8 million followers.”
Ocasio-Cortez delightedly laughed.
CNBC reported in mid-February, “Amazon’s spokesperson told CNBC on Thursday that the bulk of the 25,000 jobs that the company had promised to create in New York City for HQ2 will now go to other corporate offices and tech hubs owned by Amazon across 17 North American cities, including Boston, San Francisco and Vancouver … The loss of most of the new jobs is a major setback for New York as Amazon’s new headquarters and its additional workforce were expected to further accelerate the city’s economic growth, especially in certain sectors like technology and advertising. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo previously said the deal would bring in approximately $27 billion in revenue in exchange for the roughly $3 billion incentive package.”