Moore: Ocasio-Cortez Wisely Speaks Out Against Amazon’s Corporate Welfare

Why Don't RI Progressive Democrats Follow Suit?


I don’t expect to find myself agreeing with US Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Bronx, Queens) very often (if ever).

She loves big government. Ocasio-Cortez thinks its the  government can cure all of our problems.

On the other hand, I believe big government causes problems. Conversely, it’s the innovation from the free individuals in the private sector that are responsible for human progress and the alleviation of suffering.

I do, however, respect Ocasio-Cortez, since she at least has enough integrity to be honest–she refers to herself as a “socialist”, for instance. And she seems sincere in her beliefs.

So it’s not surprising that when announced today that it was locating its second headquarters in both New York City and northern Virginia, it was Ocasio-Cortez who was most outspoken against the corporate welfare involved in the deal.

New York promised the company, run by the world’s richest man (Jeff Bezos), $1.5 billion in direct subsidies to open their second headquarters there. Virginia, for its part, offered roughly $573 in subsidies to the company.

Ocasio-Cortez wondered why the state is spending money to enrich the stockholders of a private company when so much of the government’s infrastructure is crumbling. She’s right.

I couldn’t agree more. How is this fair to the technology companies that are already in New York and Virginia that don’t have the benefit of high-priced lobbyists to secure free government money? Those companies will now be forced to pay Amazon’s (their competitors) fair share! Where’s the justice there?

One thing that a conservative like myself and honest progressives can agree on is the fact that the government shouldn’t be in the business of further enriching the wealthy through corporate welfare schemes.

It’s too bad that we don’t have those type of (honest) progressives here in Rhode Island.

This woman’s economic development strategy is to use taxpayer dollars to woo private companies to move here. How progressive!

In Little Rhody, we have a Governor in Gina Raimondo who believes the only way to get economic development is to cut a deal. Since we have such high taxes, the Governor feels compelled to give away tens of millions of dollars collectively to businesses in order to get them to locate and do business here. Naturally, many of the those businesses are connected. Their employees and contractors routinely made donations to her campaign.

The so-called “progressives” in Rhode Island hardly complain at all. Only a handful have criticized her corporate welfare schemes. And they’re not the influential progressives.

Moreover, many of them complained that House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello didn’t give away enough of our hard-earned tax dollars to the wealthy owners of the Pawtucket Red Sox! Imagine?

Furthermore, the Democrats here nominated Governor Gina Raimondo for a second term in the Democratic Primary. General election voters followed suit.

What state governments should be doing is running lean operations, free of any waste, fraud, or abuse. That way, the government could run on low taxes for everyone. The rising tide would lift all boats–to use a slogan President John F. Kennedy was fond of.

Of course, that’s not going to happen here any time soon. There are too many cronies and favors owed. However, wouldn’t it be nice if the progressives, who act like they’re so high and mighty, to stand up and call out these unfair deals like Ocasio-Cortez did in New York?

Don’t hold your breath. I’m not.

Russell Moore
Russell J. Moore is the publisher and founder of He’s been writing about Rhode Island since 2005. You should definitely follow him on twitter @russmoore713. If you want to send him email, you can send it to


  1. Mr. Moore – Since you wrote this article, now Amazon is opening a 3rd center and it’s not in R.I. My own take on Amazon is that they aren’t competitive in their pricing, that most of their crap is made in 3rd world countries. There are a few things I have to order because I can’t find them locally. I have Amazon Prime because I had done surveys & enough points to get a free yr. Add in the cost of Prime per month (which recently went up) and there are no savings. Bezos in his oh, so charitable heart, has Amazon Smile which a portion of your sale goes to a charity of your choice – a whopping .05%. After spending a few hundred bucks (since my family knows I have it), they’ve contributed a whopping $2 and change.

    Your definition of progressive & mine aren’t the same. I’ve never voted party. It’s labeling, which I detest. Progressive means progress, moving forward, making changes, adjusting. As to our Gov., she’s done nothing for the citizens. Her fund raising will call for paybacks on the taxpayers dime. She, the Speaker and Senate leader need to communicate which will never happen.

    Now we have the sexual abuse going on. It’s being looked at to bring an unbiased outsider with no political connections to administer the rules on sexual harassment. I hope that they can find someone who is qualified (unlike the DCYF) to handle this. This is growing gov’t but it’s needed since today’s society has no clue as to what is right or wrong, lacks morals and an ‘anything goes’ mentality. Take the cut where it’s not needed – we have enough bloat in R.I. Put the money where it’s needed – more social workers for DCYF (again, another societal problem). We don’t need more bike paths – we need things that benefit the whole, not the few.

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