If you’re reading this, you’re probably a small business owner. Regardless of your business, imagine you’re a mom and pop grocery store. You own a small store, but it has top notch service, well-trained employees, a nicely curated set of quality items and the locals love you. You employ roughly 10 people.
Amazon wants to move into your neighborhood. They’re bringing a new headquarters, and one of their early Amazon Go prototype stores. They’re competing with you.
Currently, Amazon isn’t in your area, so in an ideal world, the local politicians represent you, not Amazon. However, with visions of those coming tax dollars, they care more about Amazon than they do about you.
Take Amazon’s recent attempt to get taxes incentives in New York. As you can read here, they were originally offered up to $3.4 Billion to come to New York. Eventually, some activism drove them to end that deal. Amazon ended up going there without the incentives, citing that New York was where the talent they need is.
When those incentives were being thrown around, Amazon made it seem like they could move anywhere. The reality is Amazon needs a large pool of highly educated people for those jobs. They don’t have many options for locations. Likely, only New York or California. Amazon executives made a show of it, announced plans that they would be accepting bids, and politicians ate it up. Looking at Wikipedia, you can see all the finalists, hundreds of cities put out bids. That was all for making it seem like Amazon had options, and to negotiate more in New York, where they wanted to be regardless. If that wasn’t the case, they would have pulled out the offers from those other cities after the New York deal fell through.
Amazon never had many options because relocating 25,000 people somewhere, or a significant multiple of that if you count turnover, isn’t realistic.
Amazon wants to grow regardless of government incentives. Growth is what public companies do. Those jobs will be created somewhere regardless of whether politicians hands out billions of taxpayer dollars in incentives to Amazon or not. Local politicians handing those out show not only do they not care the small guy will have to compete more with Amazon in their locale, but they want to provide tax breaks, free land, and infrastructure build out to any giant corporation willing to play the political game.
Were those freebies offered to mom and pop? Did any small business owners get tax breaks for bringing employment to the area? Did any small business owners get their choice of city infrastructure investment?
No. They didn’t. Small business is next to invisible to politicians except on the campaign trail.
Small business is not competing on a level playing field. Where you’re competing, in addition to the economies of scale, the government is handing big companies ways to beat you. Those tax savings can be used to lower the cost of their goods. Can you lower your costs based on a tax break? No, you didn’t receive any.
You’re not even being represented. Amazon and other Goliaths are being represented to you by the person you elected. Rather than fighting monopolies like government used to do, they are now encouraging them.
“No taxation without representation.”
That’s what the US was founded on. Yet, it’s become
“No taxation with the right representation.”
And the right representation is only for those with huge amounts of money and market power. Reach a certain scale, and politicians will give away anything to get you in their locale.
No government should be giving incentives for companies. Here’s some incentives for giant corporations:
- Being able to hire smart, hard-working Americans.
- Moving allows you to be able to better serve your customers.
- You’re able to do business in America, the market that made you rich, famous, and a global powerhouse.
If those incentives aren’t enough, how about the people take that $3.4 billion and give it to 100 smaller competitors as a chance to create competition and more jobs. After all, competition is good for the consumer, which makes it good for the taxpayer the ones paying the bill.
It’s time for small businesses to get more vocal to their politicians about this. Big business doesn’t deserve any more from the government than you do. Share this essay. Send it to your congressman, to your senator, to your mayor. The time for government support of monopolies is over. We’re in the age of competition. You’re competing, it’s time big business does too.