Populism for Idiots

Rep. Seth Moulton (D., Mass.) is one of the random white dudes running in the Democratic presidential primary. He recently unveiled a proposal to encourage young Americans to enlist in national service organizations, such as the military, AmeriCorps, or the "Federal Green Corps," which he would establish as president to combat climate change.

Moulton discussed his plan during a recent interview on a Bud Light Party Deck:

Amazon has become a popular target for Democrats these days, most notably when Moulton's colleague, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.), helped scuttle the corporation's plan to establish a second headquarters in Queens.

The celebrity socialist took a victory lap on Twitter, and proceeded to make some profoundly ignorant comments about the economics of tax incentives, suggesting that by not providing Amazon with $3 billion in tax subsidies—in exchange for thousands of local jobs and about $27 billion in new revenue—the city would magically obtain $3 billion to spend on other stuff.

Moulton's comments reflect this bizarre sentiment—that Amazon's tax breaks, already in effect or merely proposed, can be alchemically converted into cash.

Democrats frequently make villains out of corporations, but Amazon is a particularly bizarre choice of target. For one, it puts them on the same side as Donald Trump, who regularly rage tweets about company founder Jeff Bezos, who also owns the failing Washington Post. But more importantly, attacking Amazon risks putting Democrats at odds with their own constituents.

For example, two-thirds of New York residents, including 56 percent of self-described liberals, said Amazon's decision cancel its proposed headquarters in Queens was a bad deal for New York. A 2018 survey conducted by researchers at NYU and Georgetown University found that Amazon was the most trusted institution among Democrats, and the second-most trusted among all Americans, behind the military.

Attacking a popular company while making nonsensical arguments about how money works is an interesting attempt at left-wing populism. There are presumably better, less idiotic, options available.