Tag: Amazon

Poll: New Yorkers Say AOC Biggest “Villain” in Amazon Decision to Leave City

A new Siena College poll has found that New Yorkers consider freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) the top “villain” in Amazon’s decision to pull the plug on plans to build its headquarters in the city–costing the city thousands of high-paying jobs.

Breitbart reports:

The poll, released on Monday, asked voters to rank leaders as “hero,” “villain,” or “role player” in causing Amazon to change its plan to build a new headquarter in the Queens neighborhood.

Thirty-eight percent picked freshman Democratic Socialist Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) as the chief villain, while only 12 percent responded that she was a “hero” in opposing Amazon’s plan. 

Thirty-four percent called local activists the top villain, followed by New York Mayor de Blasio (29 percent), Gov. Andrew Cuomo (26 percent), Amazon (21 percent) and labor unions (17 percent).

Sixty-seven percent of respondents said that Amazon’s decision to leave the city was “bad” for the state, while just 21 percent said it was “good.”

Amazon was set to create 25,000-40,000 high-paying jobs in the city–with the average salary at $150,000.

The poll also found that a slight majority disagree with New York’s seemingly never-ending shift to the left–with 51 percent of voters saying the state is too liberal, while 36 percent disagree.

For the full report, click HERE.

Clueless Cortez is Dead Wrong about Amazon

In what will likely be to the benefit of a red state somewhere, Amazon decided this month to pull out of their plans to locate “HQ2” in Long Island City, which is in a district that borders Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s. Back in November, Politico reported that Ocasio-Cortez was assuming a “leadership role in efforts to combat Amazon’s plan to build a new headquarters in Queens,” and as a result, she’s been successful in creating 25,002 jobs fewer than Jussie Smollett.

Following the cancelation, Cortez celebrated the destruction of 25,000 jobs for her district as proof that “anything is possible.”

When questioned directly, she justified her alleged logic by stating “We were subsidizing those jobs. Frankly, if we were willing to give away $3 billion for this deal, we could invest those $3 billion in our district, ourselves, if we wanted to. We could hire out more teachers. We can fix our subways. We can put a lot of people to work for that amount of money if we wanted to.” No – no we can’t.

Cortez seems to be under the impression that Amazon was literally being handed $3 billion dollars, when in reality, Amazon would’ve been granted credits against future taxes owed. The three billion in tax credits that Amazon would’ve received would’ve been offset in approximately three years by the benefits; 25,000-40,000 jobs and $27 billion in taxes paid over 30 years.

Of course, this isn’t the end of the world, and the country isn’t any worse off on net basis as a result of Cortez’s incompetence. Some other city will get those jobs now, just not Ocasio-Cortez’s.

Ocasio-Cortez Thinks Amazon Doesn’t Pay Taxes

Also made in defense of her opposition to HQ2, Ocasio-Coretz thinks that Amazon is paying zero dollars in taxes. I read an article in The Observer arguing the same, headlined “Amazon Will Pay a Whopping $0 in Federal Taxes on $11.2 billion in Profits – And No One Knows Why.” It’s a bit odd to see someone explicitly advertising their financial illiteracy in a headline because simply reading Amazon’s 2018 annual report explains exactly why.

Ocasio-Cortez is specifically paying attention to the corporate income tax,  and ignoring the $1.184 billion for state, local and international taxes Amazon did pay in 2018. That aside, the reason Amazon paid no corporate tax on their $11 billion in profit is due to many circumstances unique to Amazon.

For example; Amazon has only recently become profitable in their nearly three-decade history. As such, Amazon is able to carry forward those losses against years they are profitable. While there are some liberals who seem to have a problem with this, it’s common sense accounting. If you as an investor lose $1 million in one year, and then earn $1 million the next year, the IRS will allow you to carry over the $1 million loss and treat you as if you earned $0. Any other system would require some businesses to pay taxes on losses, simply because differing periods of earnings and losses are separated across fiscal years. According to Amazon’s 2018 annual report, “As of December 31, 2018, our federal net operating loss carryforward was approximately $627 million.” Amazon also reported $1.4 billion in federal tax credits on the books to offset future taxable income generated.

Amazon’s stock was under $2 dollars following their IPO – $80 prior to the financial crisis – and recently peaked over $2,000. Because of how stock-based compensation is expensed, this has given Amazon a unique writeoff few firms can benefit as largely from. Suppose you made an agreement to work for Amazon, and part of the package included a stock then valued at $100. As a result, Amazon writes this off as a $100 expense against their income. But then suppose a decade later you sell that same stock for $2,000. In that case, Amazon gets to say “wait a minute, that asset we gave away that we thought was worth $100 was actually worth $2,000” – and receive a $1,900 tax credit on the difference. Amazon acknowledges and explains this expense in their 2018 Annual Report, “We have tax benefits relating to excess stock-based compensation deductions and accelerated depreciation deductions that are being utilized to reduce our U.S. taxable income. Amazon earned themselves a $1.1 billion writeoff in 2018 from stock-based expenses.

Of course, that doesn’t mean taxes are being dodged. They’re being paid by the person who took the stock – and that stock-based compensation is taxed at a higher rate than the corporate tax rate. Stock-based compensation is taxed as ordinary income (not capital gains), so the tax rate on it can be as high as 37%, as opposed to a maximum corporate tax rate of 21% (I say maximum because Amazon has enough deductions and credits to not pay the marginal rate).

Amazon’s annual report also cites the Trump tax cuts for “enhancing and extended the option to claim accelerated depreciation deductions by allowing full expensing of qualified property, primarily equipment, through 2022.  Our federal tax credits are primarily related to the U.S. federal research and development credit.” Amazon had a $419 million tax credit from the research and development credit.

All of these benefits Amazon is using to offset taxes are temporary and legal. Nothing sinister is going on.

Amazon used to hemorrhage money, and as they turn into a profit machine, they’ll run out of losses to carry forward. Likewise, their stock can’t increase forever, and many tax credits they currently receive will expire.

Can you believe that Ocasio-Cortez didn’t know all this? Probably…

Awesome Billboard Appears in Times Square Criticizing Ocasio-Cortez

A billboard in Times Square is slamming Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY) for her role in Amazon’s decision to no longer build its headquarters in New York City.

The billboard, at 42nd Street and 8th Ave, reads “25,000 lost NYC jobs, $4 billion in lost wages, $12 billion in lost economic activity for NY. Thanks for nothing, AOC!” The epic message was funded by the Job Creators Network, a group tied to Republican billionaire donor Rebekah Mercer.

**Listen: Dan discusses the stunning new revelations about the efforts to cover up an Obama/Clinton scandal

Ocasio-Cortez responded to the billboard, calling it “wack.”

Taking to Twitter, the congresswoman wrote, “Few things effectively communicate the power we’ve built in fighting dark money & anti-worker policies like billionaire-funded groups blowing tons of cash on wack billboards (this one is funded by the Mercers).”

On February 14, Amazon announced it would no longer build its headquarters in New York City, citing opposition from state and local politicians.

The statement reads:

“After much thought and deliberation, we’ve decided not to move forward with our plans to build a headquarters for Amazon in Long Island City, Queens. For Amazon, the commitment to build a new headquarters requires positive, collaborative relationships with state and local elected officials who will be supportive over the long-term. While polls show that 70% of New Yorkers support our plans and investment, a number of state and local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our presence and will not work with us to build the type of relationships that are required to go forward with the project we and many others envisioned in Long Island City.”

After the announcement, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, “Anything is possible: today was the day a group of dedicated, everyday New Yorkers & their neighbors defeated Amazon’s corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world.”

AOC Slammed by Fellow N.Y. Dem Congresswoman Over Amazon Opposition

Freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) was slammed by fellow New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D) for her opposition to the proposed plan for Amazon to create thousands of high-paying jobs and open up a New York City headquarters.

Appearing on CNN on Friday, Maloney said she placed part of the blame for Amazon backing out of the deal on “progressive” politicians who protested the company’s move to the city.

I’m a progressive too, but I’m pragmatic,” she said.

“Twenty-five thousand jobs at $150,000 a minimum for the job…They were working with the community on job fairs and the other types of entry-level jobs that they would have,” Maloney continued “We should be really diversifying our base of taxes, our base of businesses, we’re too dependent on financial services.”

“It used to be that we would protest wars, now we’re protesting jobs. People are complaining about jobs coming. If this had gone through, it would have made overnight New York City the high-tech capital of the East Coast.”

Last week, after Amazon announced they would no longer be setting up shop in NYC, Cortez wrote on Twitter, “Anything is possible: today was the day a group of dedicated, everyday New Yorkers & their neighbors defeated Amazon’s corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world.”

In a statement, Amazon said:

“After much thought and deliberation, we’ve decided not to move forward with our plans to build a headquarters for Amazon in Long Island City, Queens. For Amazon, the commitment to build a new headquarters requires positive, collaborative relationships with state and local elected officials who will be supportive over the long-term. While polls show that 70% of New Yorkers support our plans and investment, a number of state and local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our presence and will not work with us to build the type of relationships that are required to go forward with the project we and many others envisioned in Long Island City.”

H/T The Hill.

Facebook Granted Tech Companies Access to Users’ Private Messages, Personal Data

Embattled social media giant Facebook arranged for tech companies to gain access to users’ private messages, friends and contact information, according to a new report.

Fox News reports:

The arrangements are detailed in a blockbuster New York Times report based on over 270 pages of internal Facebook documents and interviews with about 50 former company employees. According to the Times, Facebook allowed Microsoft’s Bing search engine to see the names of almost all Facebook users’ friends without consent and gave Netflix and Spotify access to Facebook users’ private messages. The Mark Zuckerberg-led company allowed Amazon to get users’ names and contact information through their friends and permitted Yahoo to view streams of friends’ posts. Facebook also reportedly allowed Spotify, Netflix and the Royal Bank of Canada to read and delete users’ private messages and to see all participants on a thread.

Entertainment sites, automakers, and media companies were among those who benefitted from the secretive deals.

**LISTEN: Dan addresses the latest Facebook privacy scandal and what it means for you**

Facebook released a statement in which they argue that the companies weren’t given access to the data without users’ permission.

“To put it simply, this work was about helping people do two things. First, people could access their Facebook accounts or specific Facebook features on devices and platforms built by other companies like Apple, Amazon, Blackberry and Yahoo,” said the tech giant. “These are known as integration partners. Second, people could have more social experiences – like seeing recommendations from their Facebook friends – on other popular apps and websites, like Netflix, The New York Times, Pandora and Spotify….Still, we recognize that we’ve needed tighter management over how partners and developers can access information using our APIs. We’re already in the process of reviewing all our APIs and the partners who can access them.”

Facebook has come under fire for privacy concerns ever since it was revealed in March that the company allowed private consulting firm Cambridge Analytica to collect millions of user’s personal data.

Americans have grown increasingly suspicious of the social media company. A Reuters-Ipsos poll found that only 41 percent trust Facebook to obey privacy laws compared to “66 percent who said they trust Amazon, 62 percent who trust Google, 60 percent for Microsoft and 47 percent for Yahoo.”

A September Pew Research survey found that many Facebook users have change their “relationship” with the company.

“Just over half of Facebook users ages 18 and older (54%) say they have adjusted their privacy settings in the past 12 months, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Around four-in-ten (42%) say they have taken a break from checking the platform for a period of several weeks or more, while around a quarter (26%) say they have deleted the Facebook app from their cellphone. All told, some 74% of Facebook users say they have taken at least one of these three actions in the past year.”