Pundits and writers all over the country are discussing what Amazon's new headquarters search means for liberal city governing.
Pundits from around the country were quick to jump on Amazon’s plan for a second headquarters outside Seattle with interpretations or suggestions.
Tom Rogan declared in the Washington Examiner that it shows the liberal way of governing isn’t compatible with big business. “Many liberal mayors claim that the future of city governance is one that balances higher minimum wages with high corporate taxes,” Rogan wrote. “Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is one of them; he pushed a $15 minimum wage law that has cost the poorest the most, and won a tax hike on higher earners earlier this summer. Murray should look in the mirror as he considers why Amazon is looking outside Seattle for HQ2.”
But it might be a good thing for Amazon to scorn the “liberal,” coastal cities, David Leonhardt argued in The New York Times’ Opinion Today newsletter. Leonhardt said putting a second Amazon headquarters somewhere rural could even help cure some of the nation’s current polarity, both in the economy and politics.
“Large metropolitan areas on the coasts, like Seattle, San Francisco, Boston, New York and Washington, are thriving economically,” Leonhardt wrote. “The rest of the country isn’t doing nearly so well. This gap aggravates all kinds of problems, including inequality and political polarization. It’d be a shame if Amazon, which will be showering jobs on a region, further exacerbated the gap with its choice.”
Matthew Yglesias, a writer for the website Vox, made an even more unconventional suggestion: “Seattle should make a pitch to be Amazon’s 2nd headquarters.”
“Seattleites, reflecting a paucity of ambition that has become endemic to coastal American cities, have convinced themselves that their city is somehow tapped out of potential growth,” Yglesias wrote. “It’s choking on dastardly Amazon’s determination to lease office space and employ people who, in turn, demand houses and other local services.”
Yglesias says Seattle should be more ambitious about expanding — ending single-family zoning, rezoning for growth, upgrading public transit, and pitching Amazon on expanding into Greater Seattle instead of just South Lake Union or downtown.
“It would be absurd for Seattle to simply give up and accept the premise that one of the country’s most forward-thinking and dynamic cities is fated to play second-fiddle to Fort Worth in population growth and force its most successful company to seek its fortunes elsewhere,” Yglesias wrote. “The whole point of the headquarters is that you only have one, and Seattle should pitch to keep it that way.”
Local commenters chimed in as well.
State senator Guy Palumbo is a Democrat, but he called in to conservative talk radio station KTTH Thursday morning to attack “the socialist echo chamber in Seattle.”
“Making a single company that’s responsible for the biggest increase in your tax revenue over the last decade or so a scapegoat for all of Seattle’s societal woes — it just creates a hostile business climate,” Palumbo told the host, Jason Rantz.
Erin Shannon, director of the free-market Washington Policy Center’s Center for Small Business and Labor Reform, heard that same message in Amazon’s decision, writing a blog post titled “Gee, why would Amazon look to locate outside Seattle?”
Her answer: “One might speculate it could have to do with the city of Seattle’s increasingly aggressive and strident anti-business policies and attitude toward the city’s employers.”
Meanwhile, John Burbank of the Washington-based Economic Policy Institute, who signed a nearly $50,000 contract with the City of Seattle to help write and defend its income tax on the rich, spared few words in a blog post Thursday titled ‘Let Amazon Hike Up Rents Somewhere Else.’
“I worry for the city that next falls victim to Amazon, but this is a good thing for Seattle,” Burbank said. “Amazon has been a sociopathic roommate, sucking up our resources and refusing to participate in daily upkeep. Yesterday, the roommate announced that instead of making us do all of its chores, it will outsource some of its laundry to another city. Good.”
Burbank argued that Amazon moving will let the city make sure that it doesn’t become dependent on a single company, as it once was with Boeing.