The Great Amazon Stickup

Here is the handout (corporate welfare) Amazon (and, by extension, Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, who is history’s richest man) is receiving in exchange for siting new offices in New York, Virginia, and Nashville:

Incentives from New York state: $1.525 billion:

$1.2 billion in refundable tax credits over 10 years.
$325 million from Empire State Development.

Incentives from New York City:

Property-tax abatements for up to 25 years.
$900 million in job-creation tax credits, plus other unspecified tax credits.

Incentives from Virginia:

$550 million cash grant over 12 years, plus potentially an additional $200 million based on future job creation.

Incentives from Arlington:

$23 million in cash over 15 years.

Incentives from the Tennessee:

$65 million cash grant.
$21.7 million in state tax credits.

Incentives from Nashville:

$15 million cash payment based on job creation.

Add them up and you will see the biggest  corporate giveaway in our history. Corporate welfare and crony capitalism are indeed alive and well in the good old U.S.A.

Of course, it’s not news to anyone that capitalism has no ethics or morals. The only question is, will such a system override every other value and principle this country professes to hold dear? Will the rich and powerful demonstrate some ethics and morality on their own? Continue reading

Have Privacy and Freedom Collapsed?

Do you think privacy and freedom aren’t under attack? Then perhaps you should spend a few minutes and watch this.

In the short term, my hope lies with the E.U. and the market. And the hope that the threat of revenue loss will constrain those who know our every move and thought. With whom we entrust with more than we’ve ever entrusted anyone before.

In the meantime, I’m off the parasitic Facebook. It’s a small but important step for me. Mark Zuckerberg is simply not to be trusted to protect and respect my privacy. And the addiction he peddles should have no place in my life. I have too many other addictions to battle; I don’t need another one.

Google isn’t to be trusted either. But I have yet to find an acceptable substitute. I hope one appears soon.

Now my focus is Amazon and Jeff Bezos. It seems clear to me that Mr. Bezos isn’t to be trusted. Not with my information. Not with Americans’ freedom. My goal is to thin out the tether that connects me to his empire and database.

Before it’s all said and done, I suspect there will be more intense battles for the sake of privacy and freedom. At least I hope so. Otherwise, democracy will surely be lost. Forever.