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Amazon’s New York tax breaks were prohibited to retail and entertainment companies

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Amazons New York tax breaks were prohibited to retail and entertainment companies

The $1.2 billion tax breaks Amazon will be getting from New York for opening their new headquarters there comes from a program designed to bring in high-paying jobs. The problem was that the program prohibited breaks given to retail or entertainment companies. The solution: call them a tech firm.

Amazon is one of the biggest retailers in America. They’re quickly becoming one of the biggest entertainment hubs with their streaming service garnering more users every day. But they could not be considered part of either industry if they were going to get the tax breaks necessary to bribe them into picking Long Island City, so politicians used some creative classification techniques to pretend like the limitations didn’t affect them.

Retail giant Amazon, classified as tech firm, cashes in on state incentives

https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/ny-metro-amazon-excelsior-retail-20181116-story.htmlThough the company has promised to bring 50,000 jobs to New York, the deal has been roundly condemned by critics who said Amazon got too many tax breaks after a process that got little public input.

“I will always advocate for economic development and jobs in New York, but when the process is done behind closed doors, with zero community input and nearly $2 billion in subsidies to a global behemoth, I am going to be skeptical,” City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said in a statement.

My Take

I’m not a fan of Amazon. It isn’t for the same reason people like Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) or Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) hate the company. I don’t like the way they use their tremendous influence over news and entertainment to attack conservative views.

Nevertheless, I think this was a potentially good move by the state that was soiled by bad math and worse negotiating. New York’s politicians had the upper hand but played their cards like they were way behind. It’s not a coincidence that the two locations selected by Amazon were near New York City and Washington DC. In fact, one might speculate the locations were selected before the alleged search. It’s possible all Amazon was “searching” for was a way to leverage themselves better deals.

It worked.

Using incentives to bring in future tax revenues and more jobs is a valid tactic. But New York gave up much more than was necessary. That’s a problem with progressives playing with other people’s money. They are easy prey for better negotiators like Amazon.

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Economy

How much could peace in the Middle East cost? Around $50 billion, according to Kushner’s plan.

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How much could peace in the Middle East cost Around 50 billion according to Kushners plan

99 times out of a 100, any time there’s a new program or initiative being introduced by the United States government that has any significant price tag, I instantly balk. The only way we could afford to spend an extra dollar is if Congress cancels spending two dollars somewhere else. Even then, it would take a while to get the budget deficit turned around from its current untenable apex of a trillion dollars this year.

That one time out of a hundred must be something special, and peace in the Middle East is worth the consideration.

White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner’s peace plan has been broken down into two parts: the economic and the political sides. We won’t see the political side until the fall, and that’s IF he and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin can get buy-in on the economic front next week from several Middle Eastern nations, the EU, UN, and the IMF.

The White House released an outline for their “Peace to Prosperity” plan, a 95-page document that lays out the financial framework that will act as a starting point for Kushner’s presentation next week. Attendees will hammer out more details, and we can expect big changes. This is a populist and very western framework that includes many concepts unfamiliar in the Middle East other than in Israel, including online freedom, attracting outside technological assistance, and judicial independence.

It is intended to appeal to the people who can pressure hardline Palestinian leaders to take a look.

So far, reception has been negative from those on the Palestinian side who bothered to read it. It’s being called “ostensibly offering a carrot before the stick” since it’s being unveiled before the all-important political component is released.

Complaints notwithstanding, this is the right approach and Mnuchin is the right person to start negotiations. Unlike Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who will almost certainly present the political component when it’s released, Mnuchin has to sell the idea on its economic merits. If there’s one thing the Trump administration can demonstrably claim, it’s their prowess with getting an economy jumpstarted, as has been happening in the United States since he took office. This is why Mnuchin is the key at this stage. He’s a numbers guy who can make sense of the economic component to demonstrate why they believe it will double the GDP in the region in a decade.

But if this is a prelude to a full-blown two-state solution, it could be a non-starter either way. There aren’t many ways to split up land the size of New Jersey without putting Israel at greater risk than it already is. If the land given to the Palestinians is too small, such as giving them control of the Gaza Strip through promises of ejecting Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, plus small areas on the West Bank, their side will object. If it’s too large, Israel will object. Finding the balance is a seemingly impossible task, which is why the $50 billion number must be made enticing enough to warrant discussions of the political angle.

It seems today that finding an agreeable peace plan is impossible, but it’s worth the effort. Hopes may be low, but there have been stranger things that have happened for Israel in the last seven decades. Maybe this is another miracle in the making.

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Economy

Modern Monetary Theory: Why printing more money is bad

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Modern Monetary Theory Why printing more money is bad

It wasn’t intentional. The folks over at FEE.org almost certainly weren’t going after the hyper-leftists like Senator Elizabeth Warren, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or the Justice Democrats when they made the video above, but it oddly fits nicely.

They were probably just answering a common question many Americans, especially children, ask at one point or another. Why can’t we print more money? The notions of inflation, hyper-inflation, and devaluing the dollar are all relatively easy to understand. The timing behind it all is a bit tougher, even for economics experts. But it’s generally understood, once explained, that simply adding to the supply of currency is not a valid method for governments to pay their bills.

Unfortunately, this basic economic understanding has been flipped on its head with Modern Monetary Theory, a concept promoted openly by some radical progressives and discussed as an option privately by most of them. This is why I mentioned the Justice Democrats, who have been quietly pushing this notion onto the politicians they select and control.

It may be common sense and easily explainable for others why printing more money is bad, but for those who promote Modern Monetary Theory, it seems like not amount of common sense will be enough to help them see the light.

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Economy

Republican Governors Association urges Congress to ratify USMCA

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Republican Governors Association urges Congress to ratify USMCA

One America News reported on some additional firepower from the state level pushing Congress to act quickly on the NAFTA replacement, the USMCA. The Republican Governors Association is urging Congressional leaders to pass the USMCA trade deal.

President Trump promised to renegotiate NAFTA, and he has fulfilled that promise by completing negotiations on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, also known as USMCA.

“The agreement will govern nearly 1.2 trillion in trade which makes it the biggest trade deal in the United States history,” President Trump said when announcing the deal.

Republican Governors representing 27 states and one U.S. territory are backing the President and working to get the deal approved by Congress. The Republican Governors Association sent a letter to Congressional leaders urging them to take expedient action to ratify the USMCA.

Arkansas Governor ASA Hutchinson signed the letter and has praised the president’s deal, saying it will be beneficial for his state. “He’s done so many good things that are out there and give hats off to him that. We have a new NAFTA agreement and we want the Senate to ratify that.”

In the letter the governors say the USMCA is critical to their states in boosting economic development and encouraging new investments which would lead to creating more jobs. They expressed the importance of Congress passing the agreement so American workers can begin reaping the benefits of improved trade with our North American neighbors. This comes after Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer pushed for approval of the deal before the Senate Finance Committee.

“I believe the USMCA is the strongest, most momentous trade agreement in U.S. history,” Lighthizer said. “It is the gold standard for rules on the digital economy, financial services, intellectual property, etc. It will help help stop the outflow of manufacturing jobs and return many to the United States.”

President Trump has touted the USMCA as an agreement which would expand opportunity for all Americans.

“Once approved by Congress, this new deal will be the most modern, up-to-date, and balanced trade agreement in the history of our country with the most advanced protections for workers ever developed,” the President said.

Mexico’s Senate overwhelmingly approved the pact and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is also pushing Congress to ratify the agreement.

As America continues to push to control the world economy rather then being controlled by it, agreements like the USMCA are crucial to bringing back jobs and solidifying free trade with our allies. Congress must push this through, now.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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