Saturday, May 5, 2018

A Story Guaranteed To Break The Heart Of Anyone Who Loves The Pacific Northwest

And it mostly revolves around how one very powerful man can pit good people against each other.

How else is one to characterize what actually happened here when everyone agrees that Seattle, like a lot of booming, tech oriented cities, has a very serious affordable housing problem. And of course that only mirrors the larger problem of very few Americans having a living wage in the first place.

And let's also be clear that the amount of tax that would have had to be shouldered by Amazon by this proposed new "Head Tax" was only approximately twenty million dollars a year. Twenty very large on a company that is now valued at around $700 billion. As such you could hardly view it as more than chump change to Mr. Bezos. And yet he still felt the need to play economic hard ball like it was a very necessary tactic to establish just who is boss in the very city that gave him the opportunity to disrupt from what was very humble beginnings when he first started out.

To say this is the kind of thing that puts disgust for rich people in very large, and quite stark, contrast.

And let us also be clear about something else. Sure, one might have relevant criticism for the Seattle City council on how they manage any and all social spending, but it hardly takes away from the reality that we are selling ourselves so very short here on real human needs; needs that are not being met in any coherent way. And it ought to also be clear that a good deal of why managing social spending is so difficult is precisely because the need is so great across the board for housing, mental health, general health, education, the environment, and families in crisis trying to deal with constant change. All the while various economic interest groups keep pressuring all forms of government to do more with less revenue; which would be a thankless task for anyone trying to manage a bad situation when faced with ever increasing need.

The other problem, certainly, is that you just can't tackle one of these problems is isolation. They are all interrelated. Which then brings us back to the real issue of just how out of balance Capitalism has become in general, and how it's obvious obsolescence must be dealt with from the bottom up, with a comprehensively interlinked alternative.

Be that as it may, however, the bottom line here is that, in my opinion, Mr. Bezos knows very little in the way of shame. Shame for turning what should have been an opportunity to bring people together to negotiate something reasonable as a solution into a game of brinkmanship; where the real intent was to simply beat a once very progressive city into numbed, meek, submission. Pretty much like Mr. Bezos is doing to a lot of cities these days in seeing how far he can make them humiliate, and prostrate themselves before him, and his newfound economic clout. And if you do not see that for what it is then you are either quite uninformed, or are just fine with this sort of tactic.

Amazon issues threat over Seattle head-tax plan, halts tower construction

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