Bill de Blasio became New York City's mayor in 2014 with a bold populist message about the same playing field for all New Yorkers. But when it comes to arguably the most controversial debate on wealth in recent history of the city – the announcement by Amazon and then the dissolution of a heavily subsidized headquarters in Queens – de Blasio makes a bizarre face and argues privately The interests must be stronger to withstand public scrutiny.
"In the minute that there was criticism, they went away," argued de Blasio on Sunday Meet the Press . "Amazon took her ball and went home."
de Blasio: "This is an example for a misuse of corporate power … Amazon has just taken the ball and gone home. " pic.twitter.com/QVh8g75VWc
– Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) February 17, 2019
Amazon's decision to retire from business to a campus in Queens Building has become something of a litmus test of progressive idealism. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), In whose district the planned location is located, celebrated the reversal of the company. "I think it's incredible," Ocasio-Cortez told NBC. "It shows that Americans still have the power to organize and fight for their communities in everyday life."
Amazon withdrew from the deal after facing a fierce backlash in the communities with the millions of dollars in tax incentives politicians had brokered with the company. Opponents were also worried that the project would deepen inequality in New York City as it blamed major technology companies in San Francisco and Seattle.
De Blasio had endorsed the deal from the beginning, and he now argues that Amazon's decision is "an abuse of corporate power". In a report released on Saturday for the New York Times de Blasio wrote that the deal was supposed to provide a solid foundation for up to 25,000 jobs and that the company should be able to withstand a bit of public criticism of income inequality , "The lesson is that companies can no longer ignore the growing anger over economic inequality," wrote de Blasio. "We see the rage in Silicon Valley raging, busses hurled in the rocks, bringing technicians from San Francisco and Oakland to the suburban office parks."
Perhaps the message of de Blasio has not changed. Instead, ordinary New Yorkers are far less willing to slowly reduce inequality. They want to take it with them.