On February 14, 2019, Andy joined Cheddar to chat about Amazon’s decision to pull out of plans to build a headquarters in Long Island City and what that decision means for New York. “It’s bad news for New York City, for sure,” said Andy as he pointed out that the New York economy is going to miss out on a ripple effect that would have been sparked by high-paying jobs brought in by Amazon.
“It’s a hit to the New York economy. New York is a big city, it’s a strong city, but it used to be the home of capitalism. Now it’s coming under some of these socialist policies and it’s going to lose companies like Amazon,” argued Andy. He goes on to point out that the business-unfriendly climate shown by New York throughout this deal will not make the city or state an enticing place for other major companies considering relocation.
Also discussed were the tax breaks Amazon would have received in New York as well as the talk of Amazon being ‘anti-union.’ Andy argues that cities incentivize tax breaks in order to secure major sports teams all the time and bringing a powerhouse like Amazon would have had many peripheral economic benefits and could have been extremely positive for New York. “As far as Amazon being anti-union…there are laws in place to protect employees in the United States if they want to unionize. There are things employers can do to resist attempts to unionize but you can’t stop employees from unionizing. If Amazon employees wanted to unionize they certainly could have, whether they are in New York or any other place in America,” Andy said.
Next discussed was who is to blame for the deal falling through– local lawmakers in New York or Amazon? “They had a deal… if New York City is walking away from the deal or made demands beyond the deal, I think Amazon was perfectly within its right to leave,” said Andy. “There are a lot of people leaving states like New York right now because they don’t like the business-unfriendly atmosphere and they don’t like paying high taxes.”
Andy also spoke to the exceptional economy seen over the first six quarters under President Trump, noting that with so many job openings and an impressive three percent GDP, everyone benefits. “We’re no longer in a situation where there are too many unemployed people and not enough good quality jobs.”
To conclude the segment, Andy was asked about the recent Commerce Department report that said that in December 2018, U.S. retail sales recorded their biggest drop in more than nine years. He argued that these numbers do tend to fluctuate but regardless, we are still extremely close to three percent GDP growth. “I’m not going to get upset about a month to month number, you have to look at these things over the long term. I think six quarters is a better measure than one quarter.”
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