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内幕:亚马逊为何取消第二总部?

尽管预料到会有反对,但贝佐斯还是没有想到,公司会被彻底赶走。

故事的核心是一位新上任的女议员。两位不顾本地居民利益的职业政客。还有两人利用了人们对全球首富的公司享受政府福利的愤怒。

亚马逊早就预料到,如果要在纽约市东河沿岸的皇后区工业区兴建总部,会遭到一些公众反对。但亚马逊的创始人及董事会主席杰夫·贝佐斯没有想到,政治上的失误和小精明结合起来,居然将公司赶了出去。

致命的错误中包括:两位民主党人,三任纽约州州长安德鲁·库莫和两届纽约市市长白思豪都低估了国会女议员亚历山大·奥卡西奥-科尔特斯的能量。没想到她上任还不到两个月,反对大企业的号召居然如此迅速深入人心。

“一切皆有可能:今天是一群敬业的、每天生活在纽约的人们和邻居击败了亚马逊的大公司贪婪,抵抗了亚马逊对工人的剥削以及全球首富的力量。” 奥卡西奥-科尔特斯在推特(Twitter)上写道,她自称为民主党社会党人。

然而,奥卡西奥-科尔特斯跟她进步民主党同僚的胜利让其他人怀疑,此举导致纽约市经济的长期增长受到了巨大损害。

“政治加上盲目迎合成功阻挡了对纽约市来说一代人才能赶上一次的投资,也扼杀了数万个稳定的中产就业机会。”大纽约市建筑和工程行业委员会的主席加里·拉博拉在一份声明中称。“而且此举向世界各地希望到纽约建总部的企业发出了误导的信息。现在谁还敢来?”

谁来买单?

政治上的代价谁来承担?就在白思豪声称亚马逊对纽约创建科技中心的愿景是“关键”之后没几天,转脸便猛烈抨击亚马逊在项目推进过程中行为失当。

“是我们给亚马逊机会当个好邻居,还邀请他们在全世界最伟大的城市做生意。”白思豪在一份声明中称。

库莫在纽约州首府阿尔巴尼指责了同僚。“一小群政治家将狭隘的政治利益置于社区之上。”他在一份声明中说。“纽约州参议院造成了巨大的破坏。他们应该为失去的经济发展机会承担责任。”

白思豪和科莫曾经罕见地统一战线拉拢亚马逊。与此同时,白思豪一直在全国各地旅行,努力将自己定位成谴责美国收入不平等现象的进步民主党全国代言人。

共和党人迅速采取行动,指出两人合作多么尴尬。“纽约州的就业和人员流失将持续,除非能有州长和议会认真对待并扭转州经济衰退,真正提升竞争力。” 纽约共和党主席埃德·考克斯在一份声明中称。“应该敲响振聋发聩的警钟。”

穆迪投资者服务公司的副总裁尼克·萨缪尔斯在一份声明中称,亚马逊入驻失败对纽约来说是个“挫折”,“表明尽管有竞争优势,政治和反商业情绪还是可能拖累经济发展。”他表示如果没有亚马逊提供新工作,高科技领域就业增长会更加缓慢。

反对交易的关键人物为市议员吉米·范·布拉默和州参议员迈克·贾纳瑞斯。他们跟一些反对声音最大的社区团体关系比较紧密,社区团体认为纽约生活成本原本就非常高昂,收入不平等现象也越发严重,如果亚马逊进入将产生很多高收入岗位,进一步提升本地生活成本。

如果说库莫和白思豪的努力还有点抢救机会,或许只能靠欢迎就业的劳工组织帮助。但两位政客没能与工程和建筑服务工会组织起有效的反抵制活动,支持30亿美元的奖励亚马逊计划,创造就业机会,促进城市经济进一步多样化,并产生超过270亿美元的收入。

纽约市议会发言人科里·约翰逊表示,“如果其他公司愿意来纽约,非常欢迎。”他是民主党,也是公众代言人,对亚马逊的态度是强烈批评。

“我希望由此开始认真讨论秃鹫资本主义,讨论纳税人的钱都是怎么花掉的。” 约翰逊在一份声明中称。“不管什么时候,我都会支持公共交通,不支持帮富人建直升机停机坪。”

“纽约是我们的,不是亿万富翁的”

纽约的两个进步组织“筑路”与“新经济项目”,还有十几家其他组织联合发表声明称,庆祝亚马逊放弃进驻纽约。

“这场胜利明确展示了皇后区和纽约工人和社区的力量,人们聚在一起为纽约市战斗,城市是我们的,不是贝佐斯之类亿万富翁的。”声明称。他们也将支持其他城市“抵抗亚马逊和贝佐斯的霸凌手段”。

到2045年,税收减免和补助将带来高达275亿美元的税收收入,还要加上25000到40000个工作岗位,平均年收入150000美元。此外,亚马逊第二总部还承诺将纽约市打造为可以与硅谷和波士顿128号公路竞争的科技中心。

不过,州长和市长并未跟当地官员联手,之前没有,跟亚马逊签署住房和就业保障等可帮社区获得福利的协议之后也没有合作。

“应该针对社区宣传,争取反对方看在工作岗位的份上支持。”民主党政治顾问乔治·阿尔茨说,上世纪80年代他曾担任前纽约市长爱德华·科赫的新闻发言人。“也应该争取建筑工会支持。要做方方面面的宣传推广。但我没看到。”

“如果贝佐斯一开始就积极参与,提出花1亿美元改造地铁站和其他设施,肯定一次成功。”阿尔茨补充道。“社区肯定挺他。”

尽管如此,反对者还是认为亚马逊进入带来的影响没有那么大,库莫和白思豪给公众画的饼不会实现。纽约市已经有460万人就业,而且2018年创造了71000个新岗位。

“亚马逊的任务是赚钱,我的工作是确保社区居民不受伤害。”贾纳瑞斯在新闻发布会上说。“这是历史上一个非常危险的时刻,大公司居然认为可以指挥政府了。”(财富中文网)

译者:Pessy

审校:夏林

A firebrand of a freshman congresswoman. Two career politicians who bulldozed local interests. And two others who harnessed fury over corporate welfare going to the world’s richest man.

Amazon expected some public outcry over its choice to expand in a redeveloped Queens industrial area along New York City’s East River. But Jeff Bezos, its founder and chairman, didn’t count on a combination of political missteps and savvy that would drive it out of town.

Among the fatal errors: Three-term Governor Andrew Cuomo and two-term New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, both Democrats, underestimated how an anti-corporate message from Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, in office less than two months, would take root so deeply and so quickly.

“Anything is possible: today was the day a group of dedicated, everyday New Yorkers & their neighbors defeated Amazon’s corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world,” Ocasio-Cortez, a self-described Democratic Socialist, said on Twitter.

The victory for Ocasio-Cortez and her fellow progressive Democrats, though, left others wondering how much damage had been done to New York City’s long-term prospects for economic growth.

“Politics and pandering have won out over a once-in-a-generation investment in New York City’s economy, bringing with it tens of thousands of solid middle-class jobs,” Gary LaBarbera, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, said in a statement. “This sends the wrong message to businesses all over the world looking to call New York home. Who will want to come now?”

Who Will Pay?

And who will pay politically? Just days after saying the Amazon jobs were “mission critical” for the city’s tech-hub aspirations, de Blasio lashed out at the company for how it handled its role in selling the project.

“We gave Amazon the opportunity to be a good neighbor and do business in the greatest city in the world,” de Blasio said in a statement.

Cuomo blamed his colleagues in Albany. “A small group of politicians put their own narrow political interests above their community,” he said in a statement. “The New York State Senate has done tremendous damage. They should be held accountable for this lost economic opportunity.”

De Blasio and Cuomo had put on a rare united front to lure Amazon. At the same time, de Blasio has been traveling the country trying to establish himself as a national spokesman for progressive Democrats who are decrying the country’s income inequality.

Republicans quickly moved to underscore the embarrassment for the pair. “Until we have a governor and legislature who are serious about reversing the state’s economic decline and making us competitive again, we are going to continue to lose jobs and people to other states,” Ed Cox, chairman of the New York GOP, said in a statement. “This should be a huge wake-up call.”

In a statement, Nick Samuels, a vice president at Moody’s Investors Service, called the move a “setback” for New York that “illustrates politics and anti-business sentiment can derail economic development despite competitive strengths.” He said that high-tech employment will grow more slowly without the company’s new jobs.

Key to the backlash that cratered the deal were City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and State Senator Mike Gianaris. They connected with community groups angered by the prospect of being priced out of the area by an influx of high-paying jobs into a city that’s already becoming increasingly unaffordable and riven by income inequality.

If Cuomo and De Blasio’s labor could be salvaged, it would be with the help of labor groups who’d welcome the jobs. But the politicians failed to mount an effective counter-campaign with construction and building services unions to back $3 billion in incentives for a project that would create jobs, further diversify the city economy and generate more than $27 billion in revenue.

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, a Democrat who also is the acting public advocate and a fierce Amazon critic, said other companies were welcome “if you’re willing to engage with New Yorkers.”

“I hope this is the start of a conversation about vulture capitalism and where our tax dollars are best spent,” Johnson said in an statement. “I know I’d choose mass transit over helipads any day.”

‘Us, Not Billionaires’

Make The Road and New Economy Project, two New York progressive groups, were among more than a dozen to put out a joint statement saying they celebrated Amazon’s abandoning the site.

“This victory is a clear demonstration of the power of workers and communities across Queens and New York who came together and are fighting for a city that works for us and not for billionaires like Bezos,” the groups said. They would support other cities “facing Amazon and Bezos’s bullying tactics.”

The tax breaks and grants were to return as much as $27.5 billion in tax revenues by 2045, plus 25,000 to 40,000 jobs paying an average of $150,000 a year. HQ2 held the promise of making the city a tech leader rivaling the Silicon Valley and Boston’s Route 128 corridor.

The governor and the mayor failed to connect, though, with local officials early on, and after the deal was signed to get input on what community benefits like housing and job guarantees they wanted from Amazon.

“There needed to be community outreach to get counter-rallies for the jobs that were there,” said George Arzt, a Democratic political consultant who was press secretary for former New York Mayor Edward Koch in the 1980s. “You needed to get the construction unions involved in support. This takes a whole campaign across the board. I never saw it.”

“If Bezos came in right at the beginning and offered $100 million for refitting of the subway station and other amenities for the subway, that would have been a homerun,” Arzt added. “He would have had the community on his side.”

For all the drama, though, opponents said Amazon’s arrival would have much less of an impact than Cuomo and de Blasio would’ve had the public believe. The city’s economy already employs 4.6 million people, and it produced 71,000 new jobs in 2018.

“Amazon’s job is to make money—my job is to make sure the people in the community are not hurt,” Gianaris said at a news conference. “This is a very dangerous moment in our history where big corporations think they can tell governments what they should be doing.”

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