2019-02-06 / Editorials

Amazon Hysteria Is A Battle Between Capitalism And Communism

BY JOHN J. CIAFONE, ESQ.
(a lifelong resident of Astoria/LIC)

I was troubled to see the staged protest against Amazon by a few people and organizations that don’t represent the mainstream beliefs of Queens residents. Other corporations are also being protested, like Target. These businesses do help the economy by providing goods at decent prices, and more importantly, hiring workers who pay taxes and pass their hard-earned money into the local economy, boosting restaurants, cafes, eateries, bars, delis, laundromats, supermarkets, dry cleaners, gyms, beauty salons, tailors, nail salons and taxi services, to mention a few.

A recent survey of millennials stated that they would rather give up alcohol than shopping at Amazon.

While a company like Amazon didn’t need tax savings and other incentive packages, their impact in Long Island City and the rest of the city will make us exceed Silicon Valley in the number of technology jobs, accompanied by Cornell Science Technology Center and Google in Downtown Manhattan. The old adage in business is that you have to “spend money to make money.” While New York is hemorrhaging people every year to other states, and jobs from Wall Street and major banks, this offers much-needed relief to our challenging economy.

Make no mistake, Amazon is not a saint. It has destroyed retail corridors throughout our country by giving a consumer the ability to shop electronically for almost anything and receive it on their doorstep within two days, free of postage. All you need to do is walk down Steinway Street, in Astoria, to see the real damage. But, we can’t blame Amazon. It is technology that changes our course of events. Technology, coupled with the internet, has eliminated the need for many entry-level jobs.

Technology has brought enormous and mind-boggling wealth to individuals like Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Michael Bloomberg. We must embrace technology along with its good and bad effects. However, we do not need to demonize Amazon or even Target. We must embrace them for what they will provide to us and our economy. Had Amazon not selected Long Island City, it could have gone to Brooklyn, Manhattan or the Bronx. New Jersey and Chicago offered billions of dollars more in tax incentives and grants than did New York in obtaining Amazon. In return, Amazon promises to build a new school and provide 25,000 jobs.

Long Island City should be proud. I remember the days when I was a high school student at the old Long Island City High School near Queens Plaza. It was the late 80s. Half-naked prostitutes were roaming the streets during the early afternoons. The crack epidemic was rampant and needles littered the streets. Crime was unbearable, and I was robbed many times as a student coming home from school. Like Times Square, you wouldn’t risk being at Queens Plaza after dusk out of fear for your life. How times have changed. The addition of Amazon and other companies prevents us from the ravages of Detroit, which was once affluent and is now downtrodden.

All you need to do now is read the papers and watch the news to see that capitalism is under attack by communist sympathizers. Their almost drumbeat attack on successful, wealthy Americans is alarming to the point where they are using McCarthy-like tactics to make successful Americans the enemy. Their voice in pushing out businesses like Amazon or Target is alarming and un-American. These are the same people that are willing to allow illegal residents to enter the country and receive free health insurance on the backs of the taxpayers who receive no benefits from their government which they subsidize. These hypocrites look to push businesses out but bring illegal people in. How many working class people have to pay for their health insurance, children’s schooling, housing, and a skyrocketing cost of living in the city, for us to continue to pay for the services provided to all?

These people don’t speak for us. Their hypocrisy rivals their ignorance. The very same communist countries that the protesters envy would never give them the opportunity to speak or protest, like America. Let’s all come together and accept that we live in America and not some communist country that seeks to demonize wealthy and successful individuals who dared, worked hard and earned the American dream. I love Long Island City and welcome my new neighbor, Amazon, with only the best.

Editor note: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the writer. The Gazette does not accept responsiblity for those opinions.

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