Amazon picks two winners for HQ2 and gets slammed for the process

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Imagine 238 people of various abilities, ages and fitness levels competing in a canoe race up the Amazon river. It is pretty easy to imagine only the strongest would prevail while the rest would end up beached, lost or drowned. The competition between 238 North American cities to be the site of Amazon’s second headquarters was like that. It is hardly a shock that New York City and the Washington, D.C., area would end up as co-winners, getting HQ2 and HQ3 and all the jobs, traffic and higher housing prices that will come with their victories.

The two locales offered the kind of high tech workforce and proximity to centers of economic and political power that other contenders could not match. Yet some are now complaining that, by luring so many cities into a bidding war to give billions in tax incentives, Amazon ran a crafty con game that turned out well for them, but treated a lot of cities with no hope of winning as chumps. Is that Amazon’s fault, or is it the fault of city leaders all across the country who have turned economic development into a giveaway to wealthy corporations?

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