Andy Puzder Says Amazon Withdrawal Shows New York Is Falling Prey to 'Socialist Policies'

February 14, 2019

By Chloe Aiello

Amazon's decision to pull its new HQ2 out of New York City is very bad for the city ー and a sign that the home of Wall Street is falling victim to anti-business attitudes, according to former CKE Restaurants CEO Andy Puzder.

"I think it's a hit to the New York economy. New York is a big city, it's a strong city, but it used to be the home to capitalism. Now it's coming under some of these socialist policies and it's going to lose companies like Amazon ($AMZN)," Puzder told Cheddar on Thursday.

Amazon decided on Thursday to abandon a plan to build a major campus, known as "HQ2," in Long Island City, Queens, ー which the company had promised would create an estimated 25,000 jobs in the city. The surprise decision came after progressive state and federal legislators waged a campaign criticizing state leaders over what they interpreted as an excessive corporate welfare plan that included more than $3 billion in tax incentives.

Puzder, who was once President Trump's pick for Labor Secretary before withdrawing his name from consideration, is a vocal fiscal conservative, who opposes policies like a $15 minimum wage. He said Amazon's withdrawal from Queens, which the company announced on Thursday, exacerbates a trend of brain drain ー and capital drain ー as big earners flee for states with lower taxes and more business-friendly attitudes.

"There's a lot of people leaving states like New York because they don't like the business unfriendly attitude and they don't like high taxes," Puzder said.

Puzder laid the blame for this sudden turn of events, which shocked even those who opposed Amazon's move, squarely in the laps of New York city leaders.

"They negotiated the deal. If they weren't happy with it, they shouldn't have done it," Puzder said. "New York City and Amazon had a deal ... If New York City is walking away from the deal or made demands beyond the deal, I think Amazon was perfectly within its rights to leave."

And while he anticipates bad things to come for New York City, Puzder said he has high hopes for Crystal City, Va., and Nashville, Tenn., Amazon's two other picks for proposed outposts.

For full interview click here.