Mark Levin Rejects Amazon’s HQ Deal with Virginia: ‘This Is Crony Capitalism’

Emily Ward and Michael Morris | November 15, 2018 | 3:08pm EST
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Nationally syndicated radio talk show host, TV host, author and American lawyer Mark Levin (Screenshot)

On his nationally syndicated radio talk show, “The Mark Levin Show,” on Wednesday night, host Mark Levin took issue with Amazon’s deal with the state of Virginia, saying he “reject[s]” it and called the move “crony capitalism.”

“I do not like this kind of government subsidy, government crony capitalism for the wealthiest company in the world, for the wealthiest man in the world,” Mark Levin said. “I reject it. And any serious capitalist, free-market capitalist, should reject it.”

Levin’s remarks came in response to Tuesday’s announcement that Amazon was splitting its second headquarters between Arlington, Virginia and New York City. According to an Amazon press release, Amazon plans “to invest $5 billion and create more than 50,000 jobs across the two new headquarters” and also announced “Nashville as new Operations Center of Excellence with more than 5,000 jobs.” Levin quoted from a piece in the National Review titled “Virginia Gives Away the Store to Amazon” on his show Wednesday evening.

Below is a transcript of Levin’s remarks from his show on Wednesday:

“You know, I’m hearing a lot of so-called capitalists, so-called free market advocates praising Amazon for locating in northern Virginia and New York City. They’re going to create 50,000 jobs, and of course, the effect, they point out, is all the housing and everything that goes with that. It’s an enormous economic shot in the arm to these areas of the country.

“I have a few thoughts on this.

“Number one: Mr. Bezos is a big lib. He owns the Washington Compost, which is a big lib newspaper. Why would he pick Northern Virginia and New York? Why didn’t he pick McAllen, Texas? I’m quite serious. Why didn’t he pick areas right on the border? Since we’re told there’s not enough Americans in this country to fill jobs, since we’re told the people coming into this country, particularly illegally, are so noble, why do they keep locating these companies in and around New York and in and around government? That, I suppose, is my first point.

“My second point is, this has nothing to do with capitalism. This is crony capitalism. There’s a great piece by Jim Geraghty at ‘The Corner’ in National Review.

 “‘The state of Virginia is giving Amazon more than … [half a billion] dollars, with the local government of Arlington[, Virginia] kicking in another $23 million.

“‘“Amazon will receive performance-based direct incentives of $573 million based on the company creating 25,000 jobs with an average wage of over $150,000 in Arlington. This includes a workforce cash grant from the Commonwealth of Virginia of up to $550 million based on $22,000 for each job created over the next 12 years. …”’

“And it goes on:

“‘“… The company will also receive a cash grant from Arlington of $23 million over 15 years based on the incremental growth of the existing local Transient Occupancy Tax, a tax on [hotels].”’

“‘In other words, Arlington is raising taxes in order to pay Amazon to locate there. This is not how government and taxation are supposed to work.

“‘This deal should be tattooed [on] the forehead of Governor Ralph Northam[, Democrat]. Never let a Virginia Democrat ever claim that Republicans are “in the pocket of big business and special interests” again.’ Like this idiot Sherrod Brown.

 “‘At least the most powerful media institution in the region, The Washington Post, will stand up to this giant corporat[ion] giveaway – oh, wait a minute, Jeff Bezos [of Amazon, he] owns that, too.’

“Now, some people will benefit from this. They’ll see the value of their homes increase substantially. Now, if you’re planning on selling your home that might help. But if you’re planning on staying in your home, your property taxes are going to go through the roof. They’re going to go through the roof. You’re going to need infrastructure. You’re going to need all these–

“‘Well, Mark, the people they hire will pay the taxes.’

“I do not like this kind of government subsidy, government crony capitalism for the wealthiest company in the world, for the wealthiest man in the world. I reject it. And any serious capitalist, free-market capitalist, should reject it.

“But let me tell you what’s going to happen around here. All the developers are going to be excited, many of whom are Republicans. Oh, they’re going to build more housing. They’re going to get more infrastructure. You watch – you, the national taxpayer.

“‘Next is the infrastructure bill, after criminal justice reform. Yes! We can at least agree on more spending, as we all agree on a bipartisan level, and we agree on a bipartisan level to let more criminals out of prison.

“How come they never agree with us on our principles? They won’t even secure the d--- border, the Democrats. It’s only bipartisan one way. There is no way Amazon should receive this kind of subsidy, none whatsoever. And I don’t even know what the hell they gave away in New York. It’s a multi-billion dollar company. It’s worth $90 billion. Why the hell are the taxpayers subsidizing anything?”

Editor’s Note: According to Time Money online, “Just a few weeks after Apple became the world’s $1 trillion company, Amazon became the second to reach the historic marker: On Tuesday, as Amazon stock inched higher, the company’s market capitalization briefly rose over $1 trillion.”

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