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Via America’s Lawyer: Mike Papantonio and Trial Magazine Executive Editor Farron Cousins take a look at what it means for Northern Virginia and NYC after Amazon announced its second headquarter.


Mike Papantonio: For more than a year, states had been engaging in bidding wars to try to get Amazon to agree to bring their new headquarters to their states. Last week, Amazon announced that the winner was New York. The city’s going to be giving the company subsidies that total well into the millions, including roughly $48,000 per job created. That’s the cost here. It’s not just New York, it’s Virginia as well. Well, the rest of the story is when you actually do the analysis, the city or state usually loses in a big way. So they have all this history. This isn’t guesswork anymore. They know the numbers. They can look at historically, you know, just go down the line, whether it’s Boeing or whoever it is, uh, you know, they year after year, see the numbers, and they did it again here, right?

Farron Cousins: It’s hilarious that they never learned their lesson and at the same time give away everything that we could be using… look New York. Just to go back to that for, second, $48,000 per job created, as you pointed out in Virginia, $22,000 in subsidies per job created. The total number is gonna be about $2.4 billion in subsidies. There’s gotta be something better in each of these states that we could have spent two and a half billion dollars on, but instead the governments that tell us we can’t afford a universal healthcare debt free college or even infrastructure repairs. Instead they say, well, of course we have billions to give to this multibillion dollar corporation and they fall for it every time.

Mike Papantonio: Okay. And here again, let me, I can’t stress this enough. Look at the history every single time the city or state loses. So, but why does, it happens because the politicians that are making it happen. Like Cuomo for example, great example in New York. What did he say he wants to, he wants to change his name to Amazon.

Farron Cousins: Right.

Mike Papantonio: You know, rather than Cuomo he’s going to be Amazon. So, why did he do it? He did it because he’s running for something else. He wants to be a senator, he wants to run for president. He wants to say, look what I did for you, and then by the time that everybody sees that it’s a disaster. That it’s an economic disaster, he’s moved onto the next political position. If you take a look at almost every time this has occurred, that person who’s upfront, they might’ve been a governor, they might’ve been a mayor, look what I’ve done for you, and then five, six, seven years later, everybody looks at him and says my God, this is terrible. Look, New York doesn’t even have the subway system is crumbling. Their infrastructure is in such bad shape that they don’t even have the money to get that right. So now they’re going to give these huge multibillion dollar subsidies to this trillionaire. Okay. Bezos is a trillionaire and they’re going to give that money to them.

Farron Cousins: Well, it happened recently with Foxconn up in Wisconsin. Same type of deal. We’re going to give you millions and millions of dollars. You’re going to bring in a few jobs. Oh, it didn’t really pan out for the government. Foxconn made off like a bandit. Happened recently in Alabama.

Mike Papantonio: Well talk about Foxconn a little bit more. Foxconn was this Chinese company. They’re coming to town. Oh, we’re gonna do all this stuff for you. They came to town and then they said they’re gonna give you all these employees. They’re running it by robots. There are no employees. There’s no tax base coming out of this.

Farron Cousins: And a similar thing happened a year or two ago with with Alabama. They were fighting really hard. I forget which company that was, but same scenario. We give you all these tax subsidies. You’re going to bring so many jobs. Oh, well, most of them are automated. Most of them are kind of bookkeeping. You’ve got some janitors that are people and those count. We get the subsidies for that, but there have been books written about this, how corporations always do this. They start bidding wars. Usually…

Mike Papantonio: State to State.

Farron Cousins: Yeah, state to state, city to city sometimes and in many instances the company doesn’t end up taking either, but they get subsidies and tax cuts that applied to their other operations in the state.

Mike Papantonio: Okay, in this situation, this situation… First of all, before I say this, go look at the Boeing story, the Nike story, the Intel story, the Dutch Shell Company. Look at these stories every single time the entity is bazoogled, you know, and all of a sudden they lose all this money. Now, What’s interesting about this company, because you know what I think about Bezos, those, I think he’s a pariah. So Bezos is owns the Washington Post, right? He sets up these stories in the Washington Post that he owns to try to make it look like all these other cities are paying. They want to pay $7 billion. They want to pay $9 billion. They want to pay 10 billion and he starts this frenzy through the Washington Post that he owns. And he creates this bidding war for him to come to town to extract everything that he can from these locations. Not to… he’s not gonna, he’s not gonna spend a dime on subway. He’s not going to spend a dime on infrastructure. He doesn’t care about the schools. He doesn’t care about housing. You know, time and time again, they’ve asked these companies, can you do something about helping us with the homeless? That’s a great example. Bezos up in Seattle was asked, can you help us with the homeless because we’ve got a homeless problem up here. He says, no, we don’t have enough money to do that. Okay, so. So look, I would spend some time on this. I know we’ve got some other segments. I’m gonna. Spend some time on this. There’s ways to handle this. First of all, they could go at it with the commerce clause. Supreme Court hasn’t ruled on it. It’s gone up to the Supreme Court. Six circuit took it up there and they were right on the edge of saying, you know what you’re doing here actually might interfere with national commerce because you’re taking business away from Alabama and you’re trying to move it to Florida for example.

Farron Cousins: Right.

Mike Papantonio: The other thing they could do is the federal government could say, we’re going to tax your subsidies. See subsidies are income there. It’s, it’s purely income. So we’re going to tax your subsidies. Now, what’s the chances of either one of these things is occurring.

Farron Cousins: Unfortunately very, very low, but with with the commerce clause, when we look at these, these states and cities and whoever they are, paying billions of dollars to get a new business to come in. Whether it’s an Amazon headquarter, they do it with Walmarts and Targets and Best Buys in and fast food chains, even give them massive subsidies. What you’re doing is you’re out there, you’re the ones who are interfering with capitalism and the free market. There is no free market in the United States and it’s because we don’t want there to be one. We want the government and corporations into one entity where one scratches the others back. Nothing works for the consumers, nothing works for the citizens. It’s all for the politicians and the CEOs and they’re the ones who are reaping the benefits here.

Mike Papantonio: I want to spend more time on this. I know we’ve got other segments we’re gonna… I’m gonna choose to spend more time on this because the Bezos story is important. Okay. I want to take you back to the story that you covered. Both of us have covered on the propaganda machine. Let’s start with the propaganda machine. Let’s talk about the idea that the federal government in 2013 came in and they said, we want an entity in the United States that we can use for propaganda. You remember that?

Farron Cousins: Yep.

Mike Papantonio: I mean, they said… the the reasons were absurd. The reasons were absurd that they said, we need a propaganda machine. For example, they’ve used the propaganda machine against this very network. They’ve used it against the Chinese television. They’ve used it against entity after entity. It’s a propaganda machine that they put in place. The government pays for this. Now here’s where Bezos comes in. Washington Post is part of that propaganda machine. If you look at the stories that come out of Washington Post, then you ask the next part of it. The next part is the defense industry’s relationship to Bezos. Okay, so Bezos wants to chum up a war because he’s mad about China, right? Government calls Bezos, let’s start this in your… let’s start it on Amazon. Let’s start it in your Washington Post. Let’s get the weapons industry what they want and they want to chum up conflict just like they’re trying to do with Russia right now, like they’re trying to do with China right now. Bezos is very much a part of that propaganda machine. I promise you that’s what’s going on. Now talk about the contracts, the governmental contracts that Bezos gets.

Farron Cousins: Well exactly. I mean that’s Bezos’ biggest a dog in this fight and that’s one of the reasons he loves to have Washington Post’s pushing for war or Iran is one of the biggest ones that are pushing for war with at the moment too, but it’s because Bezos and Amazon are one of the biggest tech contractors for the federal government. Right now, it’s down to the wire for them. They’re likely about to win another $10 billion contract.

Mike Papantonio: Okay, talk about that contract.

Farron Cousins: Right.

Mike Papantonio: It’s so important, and here’s why. Look, this is a contract that you store all of the United States and world information in your cloud, right?

Farron Cousins: All the secrets.

Mike Papantonio: Okay, what do we know about Bezos already on that?

Farron Cousins: Well, he’s been doing it for years already for them. He knows the infrastructure, he knows the players. He know who, who he has to work over and that’s what he’s doing right now. So they’ve already pulled in billions. That’s actually one of Amazon’s number one sources of income even more than people going to the website and buying a new hammer. It’s these government contracts that have flown under the radar, partly because the guy also owns one of the biggest media outlets in the country. So obviously they’re not going to be talking about it, so nobody else covers it either.

Mike Papantonio: Okay, and to me what the sad part of this story. I mean the pathetic part of the story is when they… when Obama put in place this propaganda machine, it was Obama, it was Democrat, Republican, and Obama. When you take a look at the two politicians that came forward with this propaganda, where the government is allowed to pay for propaganda in the United States, if they want to chum up a war, they have the right to do it. And if you look at the actual bill, it is astounding. And if you have any doubt, I mean anybody watching this, if there’s any doubt, go research this and it’s, it’s scary because in the actual bill they talk about the idea that the federal government should be able to do what they want. When it comes to creating narratives about conflict. They actually use words like that. Create narratives about conflicts. Bezos, when we jump back to him, what did he do as soon as this, as soon as he was given the power, they’re paying the Washington Post. I promise you the Washington Post is part of that propaganda machine. You’re also seeing it in, in a lot of social media. When you start seeing these stories that you’re, you’re looking at what should be a progressive site and all of a sudden the progressive side is talking about, you know, Damn Russians are, you know, want to go to war with us. China, wants to go to war with us. We got to get ready for war. Where has this gone? This has gone to where the, the weapons industry that actually pushed for this legislation by the way, the weapons industry did and now Bezos is the tool. He is, he’s their boy. He is the guy that, you know, how about doing this for us? Washington Post does it tomorrow.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.