Iowa surged into the lead in the race to secure Amazon’s new corporate headquarters on Monday after offering to establish the e-commerce giant as the state's One True God.
The unprecedented offer comes at a time of intense competition for economic development (eco devo) prospects, as automation and offshoring continue to decimate state labor forces.
The Amazon headquarters is the biggest American eco devo project in nearly a quarter century. It's expected to create 50,000 jobs for the city chosen to serve as its home. The intense competition is bringing out the best and worst in elected leaders at a time of unprecedented political corruption.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (below left) told Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos she would cede her office to him if he agreed to locate the $5 billion project in the sparsely populated Midwest state. All 3.1 million Iowans would be his willing slaves and recognize him as their lord and savior, she said.
“Iowa leads the nation in economic development and with good reason,” Reynolds told Bezos. “I will be your personal body slave and you may do with me as you wish oh great one. As you may with all Iowans.”
The proposal’s cover page features Reynolds and Iowa Economic Development Authority Director Debi Durham - both Republicans - in suggestive leather outfits. The words “hot pics inside” link their matching dog collars.
Toronto Mayor John Tory denounced the proposal as a “cheap stunt.” The Canadian city is also bidding for the new headquarters complex.
The Toronto metro area meets Amazon’s requirement for a population of 1 million or more, according to Tory. Metro Des Moines does not. Its population is just 634,000
“Fucking Iowa,” Tory said in a tweet. “They’re such tech whores.”
Bezos described Iowa’s slavery offer as “intriguing” and said he was flexible on the population requirement. Des Moines meets most of Amazon’s other requirements, which include being affordable and business-friendly, as well as having a mass transit system and major airport.
“I’ve always wanted my own slaves,” Bezos said. “Sure, being able to exploit American workers is fun and profitable, but it doesn’t compare with true slavery. This offer takes the concept of being business friendly to a whole new level.”
Des Moines chief weaknesses are its shortage of upscale hookers and heroin dealers, according to Site Selectors Guild Chairman Mark Williams. It also has a surprisingly humane police force.
“Normally, this kind of tech deal would be dead in the water without a ready supply of hookers and smack,” said Williams. “However, the slavery angle opens up an array of alternative solutions to such problems. It’s a real game changer and a watershed moment in the history of American eco devo.”
Toronto was the odds-on favorite to land the Amazon project before the Iowa slavery proposal. Tory offered Bezos the first-born sons of every family in the city and a palace which once belonged to Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi. Now deceased.
The project will yield Amazon's second headquarters. The monopolistic company already has a headquarters in Seattle. However, Bezos (right) sees the wanton corruption and greed of the current generation of U.S. elected officials as a new revenue stream.
"Moving forward, I can see us creating a third, fourth and even a fifth corporate headquarters if the money is right," he said.
Chicago and New York City are also in the running for the second Amazon HQ. It's the biggest eco devo project since BMW’s search for a site for its new U.S. auto factory complex in 1992. South Carolina ultimately landed the $2.2 billion project, which created 8,800 jobs.
South Carolina offered just $130 million of tax incentives to BMW – or about $14,800 per job. It was a record-setting amount at the time, but one which was dwarfed by Iowa’s bid for an Apple data center last month.
The Hawkeye State is giving Apple $218 million in tax breaks to build a $1.3 billion data center in the Des Moines suburb of Waukee. The deal will generate just 50 jobs.
Iowa’s Apple incentives work out to about $4 million per job, which is roughly 271 times more than South Carolina paid BMW. It's an increase of 30,178 percent.
The lavish giveaway comes as Reynolds is ending overtime for more than 1,800 state workers.
"I don't know what the big deal is," Reynolds said. "Slaves don't get overtime. Slaves don't get paid. I think that's something today's state workers need to bear in mind."
Durham, the Iowa eco devo director, described the Amazon deal as a must have. She said the real impact of the "biggest jobs deal in human history" goes well beyond the 50,000 jobs and the $5 billion investment.
Durham estimates the Amazon headquarters will generate more than 200 million construction jobs, which works out to more than 60 jobs for every state resident.
The Iowa Economic Development Authority uses the controversial Sam Walton accounting system for job creation, which counts each task performed by a construction worker as a new job. By that measure a carpenter trimming 100 sheets of plywood on a single shift is counted 100 times, according to Durham.
The Iowa native (right) overcame a near fatal case of Snout in Trough disease in 2014 to win the The Janus Institute's prestigious Tax Dollar Thief of the Year Award.
"No price is too high and no sacrifice too great for the people of Iowa if it advances my resume and creates new friends for me in the Predatory 1 Percent," said Durham, who lavished $9 million of tax breaks on a Korean bulgogi food truck employing three illegal immigrants in 2013.
"It's hard to get good bulgogi in Iowa," Durham said in defense of the food truck giveaway. "And it works out to less than what we're paying for Apple."
Carol Hunter, executive editor of the Des Moines Register, lauded Iowa's Amazon proposal as an excellent example of the benefits of a business approach to public service. The Register has adopted a "profits over people" editorial stance under her leadership.
The once storied news organization opposes overtime, employee medical benefits and the five-day work week. It supports the elimination of child labor laws.
A U.S. Department of Labor investigation found that The Register failed to pay more than $200,000 in overtime to 30 newsroom employees from 2012-2014. Hunter purportedly used the money to purchase the distinctive wardrobe of former First Lady Claudia Alta "Lady Bird" Johnson (left).
"We've checked the numbers and the Amazon offer looks like a great deal for all Iowans," Hunter said, noting that slavery is an efficient form of capitalism. "Slavery has gotten a bad rap over the years. It actually represents a return to traditional American values. One which cuts costs and provides unrivaled opportunities for corporate profit growth."
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Fred Hubbell, a Des Moines businessman who is running against Reynolds for the state's highest office in 2018, lamented the political and business optics of both the "ridiculous" Apple deal and the "idiotic" Amazon slavery offer. Reynolds - Iowa's former lieutenant governor - inherited the remainder of Terry Branstad's gubernatorial term after President Donald Trump named him Ambassador to China.
"God help us all," Hubbell said. "Iowa is now officially a global laughingstock, courtesy of Kim Reynolds and the Des Moines Register."
Dan Houston, CEO of Des Moines-based Principal Financial Group, echoed that assessment. The global financial company is one of Iowa's largest employers.
"Just when you think you've seen it all, you find out you haven't," Houston said. "A lot of people are familiar with the old Confucian saying 'may you live in interesting times,' but very few realize it's actually a curse. That's where the State of Iowa is at right now."
Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said Iowa has been leading the race to the bottom in eco devo since Republicans regained control of its governor’s mansion in 2010. He denounced its slavery offer as a new low.
“We thought the Apple deal was a disgrace, but Reynolds has outdone herself with this outrageous Amazon offer,” said Bookbinder. “This is like having Kim Kardashian running the Iowa state government. What’s next - a sex tape?”
Reynolds defended the slavery offer as the only way for her small rural state to compete with larger urban states like New York. She is currently raising money for The United Way with a sex tape featuring her and Trump.
The sex tape, which is called "Fresh Ways with Poultry," tallied a 4 percent approval rating on the Rotten Tomatoes film review website. One reviewer described Reynolds as a "solid newcomer."
Fresh Ways with Poultry can be purchased on Amazon for just $2.95. Amazon Prime members have the option of pairing it with former FEMA Director Michael Brown's novel "Deadly Indifference" and Fascist Michelle Malkin's "Unhinged" as add-on purchases for 22 cents and 16 cents respectively
"I'll do whatever it takes to land this deal and bring Amazon on board as a political donor in 2018 - no matter how humiliating," Reynolds said. "Even if it means making like Jack Black in Tropic Thunder (left) and offering to 'cradle the balls, stroke the shaft, work the pipe and swallow the gravy.' "