We Should Be ‘Screaming Mad’ About Amazon’s ‘Corporate Welfare’

We Should Be ‘Screaming Mad’ About Amazon’s ‘Corporate Welfare’


If the outrage over Amazon’s new headquarters
teaches us one thing, it’s that, yes, Americans can come together. Between far-left activists and far-right
conservatives, we should all be screaming mad about the state of corporate handouts in this
country. In November, Amazon announced that it would splitting its second corporate headquarters
between Crystal City, a suburban neighborhood near Washington, D.C., and Long Island City, in Queens, New York. As a gift to the company, The states of Virginia and New York are handing out $3 billion in subsidies. That means stuff like property tax breaks and free money for each new job created. And that $3 billion is just the tip of the
iceberg. Each year, American cities and states spend
up to $90 billion in free handouts to companies, like Nike,
Boeing and Ford. That’s more than the federal government
spends on education, or infrastructure. There are three major problems with this. One, these giveaways are often redundant. For example, Amazon is a retail, media and
advertising company. It doesn’t need cash gifts to expand its
footprint in New York, the nation’s capital of retail, media & advertising. Second, companies don’t always hold up their
end of the deal. Several years ago, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker lured the Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn with a $4 subsidy
to build a factory. But now Foxconn’s like, eh, maybe we’re
gonna build a much smaller factory and instead of hiring a bunch of people, actually most of the manufacturing work is
going to be done done by robots. Scott Walker, you got played. Third, it’s ludicrous for Americans to spend tens of billions of dollars, not to create new jobs, but just to shuffle around jobs that are going
to be created anyway. Consider the so-called “Border War” that
Missouri and Kansas have been fighting over jobs located in the
Kansas City Metro Area. First, Kansas lured AMC Entertainment with
tens of millions of dollars for subsidies. Then Missouri took Applebees’ headquarters. Back and forth they went, until both states had spent half a billion
dollars creating zero net new jobs but changing the commutes of 10,000 people
living in the Kansas City metro area. This is, of course, really really absurd. But mayors and governors feel like they have
to do this sort of thing to win elections. And corporations are, of course, happy to
accept the free money. So, how do we fix it? First, Congress could pass a national law
trying to ban this sort of corporate bribery. Second, Congress could make the subsidies
less valuable by threatening to tax corporate subsidies
at 100 percent, as a special kind of income. Finally, the federal government could actively
discourage the culture of corporate subsidies by yelling, and screaming, and penny-pinching, and generally
demonizing anybody who engages in this behavior. In the end, this should be a unifying issue. The left loves to criticize corporations for
being heartless money-grubbing organizations that
love to exploit labor for profit. The right loves to criticize the left for
demanding free money for whatever new pet project they’re obsessed
with today. But whether you’re a far-left critic of corporations,
or a far-right critic of welfare surely you can agree that welfare for corporations
is just plain stupid.

100 thoughts on “We Should Be ‘Screaming Mad’ About Amazon’s ‘Corporate Welfare’

  1. Excellent video. The perfect example of this is the Canadian province of quebec. In 2015 I believe they collected a total of $6.7 Billion in corporate income tax but they gave out $7.0 Billion in grants and subsidies to companies.

    Instead of playing favorites for particular companies they could have no tax on business income for all companies which would attract all kinds of investment and job growth.

    The other problem with handouts to companies is the obvious potential for corruption. Imagine the kick backs that happen.

  2. A corporation, as a general term, is a subset of a company with a specific definition. It was, at one time, established to produce very expensive products using aggregate funds from investors, limiting their liability, making large-scale, high-risk projects feasible. Now, I think this social contract has been abused, risking the free market system and the society that established it.

  3. So Scott Walker gave $ 4 800 000 000 of Taxpayers money to a company.. that promised a big investment.. but built a small one after pocketing the money…

    Thank the blue wave he is OUT

  4. unless its oil companies. then the opposition to hand-outs is pretty distinctly partisan. we'll never demonize it because the bribery is never jsut for the corporation either. kickbacks are still a thing. which is why bills restricting "campaign donors" and the scope of their use are never passing either.

  5. I like the 100% tax idea. This sort of behavior preys on communities in a race to the bottom.
    Same with stock market high frequency trading. Profits on selling assets held less than an hour should be taxed at 100%. They don't involve any sort of wealth creation, just taking . . .

  6. i bought a yard broom /brush from amazon it came in a box that was as big as my front door ! the box must have cost as much as the freaking brush !
    the brush was made in china [ made in china on a big freaking lable ]
    i checked how much it would have cost twice as much to get it straight from the company that made it
    the british royal mail would have charged more than the brush for the box yet t cost nothing for delivary !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    shiped from china put in a freaking big box delivered for free ! this brush traveled 6000 miles at 0 cost and the world wounders why we are runing out of resorces , thats why i never buy anything from amazon !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Amazon is only able to be as large as they are because they don’t pay their employees enough to live, guaranteed they’d have a smaller scale if their employees could actually eat and pay rent, instead amazon relies on us to pay their employees rent and groceries

  8. I’m a far right critic of the way our government forces workers into subservience by keeping wages low and allowing companies to get away with paying less than a fair wage

  9. Socialist welfare for corporations and crushing austerity conservatism for everyone else. And yet the working class keeps watching Fox News and voting for neocons and paleorepublicans. Until the people demand the complete removal and banning of corrupt corporatocracy elements from government, the people's interests will not be respected and no lasting change, except crumbs, will be possible.

  10. wellfare for corporations just shows how the feudal/exnazi underpinnings of corporate america design and manipulate media and governance

  11. A simplified tax code would make it much easier to stop corporate welfare. As long as the tax codes (on both the local & national level) are thousands of pages long, large companies will be better at lobbying politicians to give them special treatment.

  12. The true left has always demonized the embezzlement by the criminal corporate sharks. And the true left has always called out the criminals with political legitimacy who committe crimes against the public, I.e. the COUNTRY and therefore government. The right do so some what? As they seem to be some what confused as to whether they are really angry and outraged at being cheated. And or wanting the opportunity to be the cheating stealing scamming criminal capitalist. You can include libertarians in with the right wing. And some conservatives. Only the true left see through the criminal bullshit and is screaming mad and outraged for ALL! Which is why true leftist Proggressives and organizations are labeled as being terrorist, unpatriotic, libtards, commies, socialists, and dozens more. All to keep the rest of the country from seeing the truths.

  13. I knew this was happening, but I’m not doing anything about it because I know the elected officials are hanging out with the lobbyists and accepting bribes. We live in a Republic in which our elected officials care more about the party agenda than the well being of its citizens. But I suppose it’s apart of American culture at this point… we like free money, we undermine justice for profits, and we disregard the words of our smartest and brightest.

  14. Let's just ask congress to stop engorging itself on cash. oh…wait… starry eyed dreams only for the starry eyed.. what is required to be a staff writer for The Atlantic, now? simply wishing away pork barrel politics?

  15. Oh boy, here we go again. Corporate subsidies lower tax liabilities for companies. You pay the taxes when you purchase the corporations good or service!

    Furthermore, you found a few bad examples; those are anecdotes. The reason why cities and states give subsidies to attract companies is because the city or state USUALLY ends up winning in the deal. USe your head. If subsidies didn't work, they wouldn't offer them!

    If I am a company, and 5 cities are campaigning to get my headquarters, the city with the best offer MIGHT get my business.

  16. You should be bombing mad, not screaming mad.
    The 0.1% will not stop robbing and murdering until they directly feel repercussions, and your politicians are clearly too corrupt to do so.

  17. this barely rates compared to how much corporations rape the taxes of Americans. The government and people stopped being in control long ago. Corporations have infiltrated the government. Not to mention the taxes.

  18. What most people don't understand: Capitalism is not the same as market economy.
    The opposite is true. Capitalism means those with money, the super rich and the transnational corporations, can buy subsidies, tax cuts and tailored laws from corrupt politicans, and voters for their personal unjust enrichment at the expense of the poor, the middle class, and small to medium companies from FoxNews and co.

  19. Welfare is just plain stupid. It doesn't matter who it is for. It may be worse for corporations, but it is stupid for individuals anyway.

  20. The problem will always be capitalism!

    Why do we continue to waste our time, 'screaming mad', fight after fight with this decrepit dystopian rigged system of the rich elites?! Here we go again … corporate welfare is just another stepping stone of capitalism~! Socialism for the rich, and crapitalism for the rest of us dumbfks! Start calling out the real culprit, OR GET USE TO IT PEOPLE! This shit is NEVER going to end as long as we refuse to pinpoint logically, where these ills are coming from, namely capitalism itself.

  21. Really, this is about the takeover of government at all levels by corporations. Lobbyists are the foot soldiers who work on elected officials long before there is an 'official' decision on what subsidies to hand out.

  22. This isn't a balanced perspective at all. This is a populist perspective. Those corporations are privately owned. they can move wherever they want. if local governments want those jobs they need to provide incentives and compete for them. If a corporation doesn't want to move to your state willingly and without subsidies, there is something wrong with your state.

  23. So what is your argument against LESS taxes for corporations??? They are not stealing anything they don't force people to buy from them…!!! The problem is GOVERNMENT taxing incomes of small bussinesses as well as corporate in fact they even tax the POOR to FINANCE GOVERNMENT jobs (family and party friends) and that just extracts instead of Helping SOCIETY. and who pays??? everybody!!! now here's the thing the majority of tax payers earn between 30000 to 250000 and those are the ones who pay the taxes that supports AMERICA not the CORPORATIONS and the 1% the 1% are nothing compared to the 300 Milion people who must pay taxes.

  24. 1:52 What's ludacris is people like you thinking that the GOVERnMENT should create jobs…what a stupid IDEIA that is the best way to destroy a country and it's FREEDOM. the government does not create anything, they extract! they provide some services that we all pay for but the GOVERNMENT today is in control of about 50% of the country instead of AMERICANS and individual interest. the government has no interest but for themselves. people on the other hand care about their customers otherwise they don't sell and go out of bussiness. Your video is socialist GARBAGe.

  25. ABSO – FREAKIN – LUTELY. Just look at the tax cuts for the rich as an example. Yay let's funnel even more of the wealth to the top 1%!! Where are those middle class tax cuts he promised before the midterms. Oh right that was just another lie in the endless stream of BS.

  26. Lol your rural voters are screaming mad about Obama still, and complaining why a high school degree won't generate 30$/Hour anymore.

  27. I need a small loan of $57 million dollars to become a "self-made man" and bankrupt three companies while claiming to be a smart business man.

  28. The citizens of Anaheim, Ca agreed to give 2 new hotels, directly across the street from Disneyland, a total of $292.8 million in subsides over the next 20 years. One of those hotels was already in the construction process.

    Also, FYI… There are 3 Opportunity Zones, aka "*disadvantaged communities*", surrounding Disneyland. 260+ acres of that land is directly behind Disneyland. This would allow Disneyland to scoop that land (most likely as a parking lot) and use it as a Federal tax deferment.

  29. Living in Niagara Falls and watching our economy completely fall apart when we stoped subsidising buisnesses. I can't agree. You can chose to sit on a high moral horse, and watch your town die while the jobs go to that other town that doesn't. Even if the FED jumps in there is still an entire half of the world which offers often low taxes and cheap labor. The tax and rebate system is the only thing keeping any indusry alive in the US. Don't belive me buy a ticket to Niagara Falls or better yet Flint Michigan to see what no subsidies looks like.

  30. THERE IS A FIX !

    This is a worldwide problem. Corporations pay politicians to ensure them state subsidies or make it easier for them to buy state owned land and expand that way.

    The ONLY way this can stop is by creating a completely free market society and dismantlyimg goverment.

    This way Joe the senator wont be able to give public land to corporations for a quick buck.

    In a completely free market society, he could only sell his own property and not public property since nothing would be public.

  31. Sure is plan stupid, more than enough are struggling to eat, pay for oil and gas to heat their homes or pay electric to heat & for those with kids to pay for their kids Christmas gifts I could go on and on about problems with money around this country and probably around the world companies like Amazon and others are just being downright greedy and governors are being downright stupid about it giving a 4 billion dollar incentive bonus tax money whatever you want to call it to move to the state and yet they only going to use robots to power and make things and not the people that's downright stupid stupidity stupidity stupidity stupidity

  32. This issue may unite the left and right but it also unites the Democrats and Republicans on the other side of the issue.

  33. Wow only 73 down votes. You really have found something everyone is universally against. Except… unfortunately the country is no longer a democracy, its a plutocracy. So… bummer.

    Great idea to tax corporate subsidies! but your phrasing was unclear: "100%" does that mean count every dollar as taxable, or try to get the corporation to pay the federal government the entire value of the subsidy? I think you meant the first, but it is unclear. Maybe taxing them 150% of the subsidy would be good actually. But then the federal government is getting money while local govn'ts make the sacrifice. Which sucks. Could the feds just pipe the money back to the states somehow?

  34. Yep, makes perfect sense why the Republicans should also be against this…which almost guarantees they won't for no other reason than to oppose the Democrats

  35. Tell that to the politicians, who's campaigns are sponsored by those same corporations…. lol…. nothing will change, I am sure of it

  36. And then these big corporations use this taxpayer money to create far-left and far-right groups, sneaking into peaceful protests and small fledging groups to turn them into anarchists or alt-right and create further separation between the two political ideologies and turning every single campaign race into identity politics so that anything related to government spending can be ignored.

    Reddit cough /pol/ cough

  37. Be good if you make your videos without judgement, the whole over confident presenter schooling the viewer on what is plain stupid is actually what is stupid and may I say condescending, You are going to need to become more didactic to influence people, else you are just coming across as another arrogant know it all that nobody can stand listening to, frowning at people like they should already know what you are blathering on about.

  38. This guy comes off as super rehearsed and disingenuous. His motivation for fame is oozing through his pores, and it creeps me out.

  39. More socialist tax schemes
    Tax breaks are not spending, its allowing producers to keep more of their own money
    Cities compete for businesses…cities are built or die depending on their tax policies.
    Notice the cities and states with the highest poverty rates have the highest taxes and most regulations.
    Stop justifying more taxes

  40. "Congress could pass a law banning Corporate bribery." The same congress accepting corporate bribery for campaign donations? No problem will ever be fixed until you fix the money in politics problem.

  41. not "giveaways", they're not extracting as much as they are extracting from others … which is still unpleasant if you're one of the "others"

  42. Welfare for corporations is what is degrading our national infrastructure and hurting our working class citizens…stagnating wages..Consumers be aware of whom you are taking your business to!

  43. this is why the rich got richer while middle class still buy ftom amazon n go to stadiums games to support team owners. stop bitching people. we're the one that gave them these power in the first place

  44. This is why they rather get the shrinking middle class and poor to fight amongst each other pointing fingers at one another and immigrants. It creates a diatraction from the real issues at hand.

  45. This is obscene, these types of things should be getting way more attention then they are. This is corporate greed at its finest.

  46. Great piece.
    Your error is that you assume the city politicians are doing this for "their" constituents… They are doing it to get re-elected. Short term gain over long term logic.

  47. Does this really hurt Amazon? Sounds like there are plenty of other places willing to bend over backwards for the promise of more jobs and better real estate prices.

  48. Derek says in his article that "the Amazon deal used tax breaks that might have gone to infrastructure
    or low-income housing investment in the Long Island City region."
    So now where is this pile of money that they saved that they can now apply to infrastructure or low income housing?

  49. Congress, make this corporate welfare illegal! It is plain wrong. Who do you represent? Well, I think I know the answer to that. So I ask, who should you be representing?

  50. After goofing around with other channels like Vice, Vox and The Guardian I'm settling down with The Atlantic for good.

    I love you The Atlantic channel.

  51. And yet, these are the companies that provide jobs, pay some taxes, and product products and services, right? But Sheeple have no problem with Guadelupe coming here illegally, getting free medical, programs, and didn't bother to wait in line for their turn? RIGHT….

  52. The 2020 election will bring this horrific practice to light, thats why Rs are calling Dems "socialists" which is funny cuz they are the true socialists. Hidden & obvious Corp welfare dwarfs ALL public welfare costs combined & that $ doesnt go directly into our econ like public welfare does. Its so extreme it needs a massive PR campaign to hide it from the public with distraction politics like age old racist "welfare queen" stories all over any conservative R owned TV stations to distract ppl from the corp jet subsidies etc… If poor ppl had a PR army you would know a lot more about CRAZY corp welfare. ALL fiscal conservative Rs need to educate yourself. stop subsidizing job$, its your tax $$$!

  53. 1000 thousand dollar universal basic income for everyone 18 and over who make less than 500 thousand a year would be better way to use those state tax dollars,,for that state,,

  54. Deferring taxes is not a corporate Welfare. The Amazon facilities will generate taxes and cost the taxpayer nothing. Now NY gets absolutely nothing and Virginia gets a huge payday in both jobs and taxes. Welfare is handing money to someone for nothing, deferring taxes as an incentive is not welfare. He should take a basic economics class. My kids understood this this simple level of economics by the time they were in 4th grade!

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