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The Hypocrisy of Amazon’s HQ2 Process

Amazon set up its HQ2 bidding war for maximum manipulation of North America’s cities—and the company doesn’t seem to be following its own selection criteria closely.
The competition for HQ2 has given Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos plenty of reason to smile.
The competition for HQ2 has given Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos plenty of reason to smile. Ted S. Warren/AP

More ink has been spilled about Amazon’s HQ2 process than any other economic development process in history, and the saga is ongoing. This past October, 238 cities across the United States, Canada, and Mexico submitted bids, many featuring wasteful taxpayer-funded incentives. In January, the company announced its 20 finalist cities. And this month, Amazon representatives started making phone calls to the rejected cities to discuss why they weren’t selected.

Many of the rejected cities are taking this feedback so seriously that they are working to remedy the deficiencies Amazon has identified, as recently reported in the Wall Street Journal. Detroit, for example, is pushing for a new regional transportation plan after Amazon officials said they were concerned about how their 50,000 workers would be able to commute to downtown from the suburbs.