Newly-elected New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez continues to be a target of establishment corporate interests, this time drawing fire for her opposition to Amazon’s recently canceled plan to open a new, secondary corporate headquarters known as HQ2 in Queens. According to the Hill, a billboard appeared in New York’s Times Square that seemed to pin the blame for Amazon’s decision to cancel the planned headquarters squarely on Ocasio-Cortez.
The billboard read in part, “Thanks for nothing, AOC!” and proceeded to list the figures for jobs and money that critics claim will be lost as a result of the decision.
However, Ocasio-Cortez was having none of it.
“Few things effectively communicate the power we’ve built in fighting dark money & anti-worker policies like billionaire-funded groups blowing tons of cash on wack billboards (this one is funded by the Mercers),” the freshman lawmaker tweeted late Wednesday.
“PS fact that it’s in Times Sq tells you this isn’t for/by NYers,” she added, referring to the notoriously crowded and commercial area that is constantly overrun with tourists.
The “billionaire funding” for the billboard Ocasio-Cortez referred to was put up by an organization called the Job Creators Network, or JCN. The group has ties to the Mercer Family Foundation, which is run by Rebekah Mercer. She is known for supporting right-wing causes and is an investor in the far-right news outlet Breitbart.
Billionaires paying to put up anti-progressive propaganda in Times Square is like the obscenely rich version of the scene where Michael Scott points to the Bubba Gump and saying “This is it, this is the heart of civilization, right here.” ???? https://t.co/NJXggcSZJv
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 21, 2019
“The pullout of Amazon—because of anti-business politicians, notably Ocasio-Cortez—is a major blow to the New York economy. The retreat will not only cost the area $12 billion in economic activity but 25,000 new jobs that would have paid an average salary of $150,000,” read a statement put out by JCN.
Alfredo Ortiz, president and CEO of JCN, went on to say that Amazon’s cancelation of HQ2 just a taste of the future economic damage in store for New York and America should “Ocasio-Cortez’s anti-business canon come to fruition.”
“The Amazon pullout is a perfect example of what we’ve been saying: socialism takes and capitalism creates,” Ortiz said.
However, Ocasio-Cortez was far from alone in opposing the new headquarters. Business Insider reported that local activists organized widespread protests against the city’s offer of nearly $3 billion in incentives to the company, which was recently valued at $1 trillion, even as schools, subways, housing, and other local needs go underfunded. Per the Chicago Tribune, activists also pushed back against the claims that HQ2 would create 25,000 jobs for New Yorkers, saying that the bulk of those jobs, and especially the higher-salaried ones would likely go to people from outside the community, who would then move to New York and further drive up real estate prices and exacerbate neighborhood gentrification.
Amazon cited local opposition in its decision to cancel plans for splitting the new headquarters between Queens and a northern Virginia location, referencing local and state politicians, saying “they oppose our presence and will not work with us.” However, the company didn’t call anyone out by name.