Barry Ritholtz on What Happened With Amazon’s HQ2 in New York

This piece by Barry Ritholtz is the best I’ve seen, by far, on what happened — and why — with Amazon’s aborted HQ2 project in Queens:

Before we determine who killed Amazon’s HQ2, let’s note who did not: It was not the progressives or the Anti-ICE lefties. No, the Socialists have not taken over America. The biggest opponent to Amazon HQ2 in NYC was not from the new Congressional class, all they did was make some noise, and little to do with what actually mattered. It was not, to the chagrin of Fox News, AOC or Elizabeth Warren, or anyone else in Congress. All of the incentives for this were State + City, not Federal. Congress literally had no say on this.

Spoiler alert: It was Jeff Bezos. He belatedly realized the political landscape had changed, and decided he was unwilling to engage further. He did not want to deal with it or be embarrassed. Full stop. […]

Amazon began as a bold idea, deftly executed. It embraced risk, and that generated a massive return on money. But many are simply uncomfortable with the one offs for any one company to get. If you want to encourage businesses to relocate to a specific area, then come up with a series of incentives that apply to ALL businesses that will open shop in that location — not just one. Thus, the entire HQ2 competition was conceptually flawed from the start.

As a fire-breathing Wall Street working capitalist, my instinct is to say: Build your own fucking HQ on your own goddamned dime.

Must-read piece.

Monday, 25 February 2019