Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., hit back at critics Tuesday who mocked her celebration of Amazon’s decision to cancel its deal with New York City to build its headquarters in Queens.
Ocasio-Cortez faced stinging rebukes from Republicans and Democrats alike over her insistence that the $3 billion in tax breaks offered to the company would be better spent hiring teachers and fixing the city’s crumbling subway system.
The latest came from Erik Engquist, a managing editor at Crain’s New York Business.
I’ve been telling @AOC critics that she is smart, but what do I say when she says nonsense like “we could invest those $3 billion in [@amazon tax breaks] in our district. We could hire more teachers. We can fix our subways, we can put a lot of people to work for that money”— Erik Engquist (@erik_engquist) February 19, 2019
Engquist’s pile-on proved something of a last straw for Ocasio-Cortez, who unleashed a flurry of tweets directed at those who claim she’s too green to wield so much influence.
Not sure how many pundits talking about Amazon even read the deal or where it was going.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 19, 2019
$500+ million of the deal was *capital grants.*
$2.5 billion in tax breaks.
It’s fair to ask why we don’t invest the capital for public use, + why we don’t give working people a tax break. https://t.co/jUqaugUHYP
Ocasio-Cortez then turned her fury on those, like New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin, who called out what he termed a “financial literacy epidemic in America.”
Frankly, the knee-jerk reaction assuming that I “don’t understand” how tax giveaways to corps work is disappointing.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 19, 2019
No, it’s not possible that I could come to a different conclusion. The debate *must* be over my intelligence & understanding, instead of the merits of the deal.
There’s NO WAY that this deal - one of the biggest giveaways in state history - could possibly have been bad, right?— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 19, 2019
Surely there can’t be anything wrong with suddenly announcing a massive restructuring & pricing out of a community without any advance notice or input from them.
The freshman congresswoman then retweeted a Business Insider article on the real estate impact that the quashed Amazon deal was already having on prices in the city.
There’s no CHANCE that the speculative insider real-estate buys that were creating immediate spikes in rent in one of the most rent-burdened communities in NYC could have possibly been unpopular?https://t.co/wArbA7B1Q6— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 19, 2019
Lastly, Ocasio-Cortez cited a Washington Post article detailing a meeting between Amazon and Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, at which the company pitched using its facial recognition technology to help identify immigrants.
Or that a technology giant of big-brother-esque potential was selling (notoriously flawed & racially biased) facial recognition technology to ICE while trying to move into 1 of the most immigrant-dense areas of the world?— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 19, 2019
No, it must be because I’m dumb.https://t.co/IoBixav34r
Over the weekend, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio struck a measured tone discussing Ocasio-Cortez’s role in scuttling the deal with Amazon, which had been billed as likely to bring 25,000 new jobs to New York. On the one hand, he noted that the proposed $3 billion in tax incentives would go into effect “only after we were getting the jobs and getting the revenue,” and he also criticized the company for pulling out of the agreement.
“I have no problem with my fellow progressives critiquing a deal or wanting more from Amazon. I wanted more from Amazon, too,” de Blasio said on “Meet the Press.” “The bottom line is, this was an example of an abuse of corporate power. They had an agreement with the people of New York City.”
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