Boy-oh-boy! If you wanted to see socialism backfire before your eyes – proof that anti-capitalist sentiment leads no place good – I think we just saw it. In one of the oddest chapters in recent American politics, an avowed socialist and Democrat congresswoman, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, just spiked 25,000 to 50,000 jobs and tens of billions of dollars of revenue for New York City. She single-handedly vaporized one of the most sought-after economic opportunities in a decade – with strident, ill-informed, and ill-timed words.
That’s right, first Amazon canvased the country, creating an open and competitive process (that is how capitalism works) among dozens of hopeful US cities – for the second of two big headquarters. The promises made by this high-octane engine of American innovation, revenue and prosperity were large – but the Amazon track record for fulfilling such promises is also large.
So highly competed was this opportunity for upward mobility that 238 cities entered the competition. When the field was thinned to 20, those standing included Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, Montgomery County MD, Nashville, Newark, New York City, Northern Virginia, Philadelphia Raleigh, Washington DC, and even Toronto.
With a long-awaited drumroll, New York City then won. The stakes were high and The Big Apple was understandably ecstatic. Then, like some nightmare, the November 2018 elections occurred – and Representative Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, who styles herself a force of nature, shot off her mouth. She and a handful of leftist Democrats lambasted the company, Amazon.
As if she did not understand basic economics, or power of government incentives and infrastructure to leverage growth for jobs to pay for food, homes, children and wealth creation, she attacked the company – for lining up three billion dollars in tax incentives. These incentives would have bought teachers, infrastructure, construction and jobs that she claimed to want – but she let her leftist vitriol fly: Socialism over capitalism, personal ambition over people’s lives, jobs and growth.
In one fell swoop, she killed the Amazon project, upending years of preparation and destroying the hopes of hundreds of thousands of workers and businesses in fellow-Democrat Carolyn Maloney’s (D-NY) district. This self-impressed 29-year-old socialist triggered a straight-forward response: If you don’t want our efforts, innovation, growth, jobs and revenue, we are out of here. Amazon is gone.
And there we have it. Personal ambition and aggrandizement delivered a socialist outcome – an economic dead-end street. Congresswoman Maloney was stunned, along with thousands of New Yorkers. The dumbfounded New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, last Sunday, decried the outcome. The proud-as-a-peacock Socialist, with no life experience, depth in history or economics, was apparently pleased to have triumphed over the American spirit of life, liberty, free markets and capitalist economics.
The actual news account: “Ocasio-Cortez was wrong to have claimed the collapse of the Amazon deal would free up $3 billion to fix the city’s subways and hire more teachers.” As New York’s stunned and glum Mayor explained to the prophet: “The three billion dollars would go back in tax incentives, only after we were getting jobs and … revenue [from the company]… There’s not three billion in money … there’s no money” – until capitalists make it.
And that is the socialist fallacy in a nutshell. If you do not make any wealth, there is no wealth to tax and redistribute. If you kill creators of wealth, you bankrupt the system – ala Venezuela and the former Soviet Union.
In the former Soviet Union, citizens indoctrinated to be good socialists would sometimes discover a community member had purchased a cow. What did they do? For the sake of assuring socialist equality, they would kill the cow – rather than ask how they might all get cows.
And so, well done “AOC.” Truth is simple: Socialism backfires, always does. The New York Democrat just did us a favor, demonstrating how socialism kills jobs, destroys businesses, impoverishes lives, and under-cuts everything from privately-inspired infrastructure and education to basic human self-worth and prosperity. These come from giving hard-working people jobs, just an honest day’s work and pay. Socialists are – collectively and individually – a piece of work. Socialism is about bringing people down, as they just did to tens of thousands of New Yorkers. But we also got an invaluable lesson: Socialism fails, and always will. Thank you Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez.