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  • Jobs. Literally, the only reason that anyone gets up before 11am.

  • Politicians care about jobs more than anything else,

  • as you can tell from how often they mention them.

  • These are the things I focus on. Jobs, jobs, jobs--

  • Jobs, jobs, jobs.

  • Jobs, jobs, and jobs. Period.

  • -Jobs... jobs... jobs. -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

  • It's about jobs, jobs, jobs. Good-paying jobs.

  • It's about jobs.

  • Jobs, jobs, jobs, and more jobs. American Jobs.

  • Politicians seem to think that jobs are like Beetlejuice.

  • If you just say the word a magic number of times,

  • eventually they'll just pop up out of nowhere.

  • Now, more specifically tonight, I'd like to talk about

  • one of the ways that politicians try to create jobs.

  • Economic development incentives.

  • And I know that that doesn't sound interesting.

  • Wait, wait, what are you doing?

  • You're putting me picture-in-picture?

  • Is that Entourage: The Movie?

  • Fine, you know what, switch over the audio,

  • listen to the first line. You'll be back.

  • I may have to jerk it before we even get there.

  • -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING) -Oh! Oh, how about that?

  • All of a sudden, a show about economic development

  • doesn't seem like the worst thing

  • you could be watching, does it?

  • -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING) -So... (CLEARS THROAT)

  • -As I was saying... -(AUDIENCE CHEERS)

  • Economic development incentives are essentially when state

  • and local governments offer perks to companies

  • to entice them to build or expand in their area.

  • Here in New York

  • there is a program called StartUp New York

  • which launched with some pretty astounding tax breaks.

  • AD ANNOUNCER: Start-Up New York creates zero tax zones

  • for new businesses for ten years.

  • Zero property tax, zero corporate tax,

  • zero business tax, and zero income tax.

  • Wow. Zero property, corporate, business, and income tax.

  • (SLIDE WHISTLE ASCENDING)

  • And I believe that that sound you just heard

  • was Donald Trump getting an erection.

  • (AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

  • Wait for it. Don't wor-- Wait for it...

  • -(SLIDE WHISTLE DESCENDING) -It's gone again.

  • -(AUDIENCE APPLAUDING) -See ya next year, little buddy.

  • And look, it's not just New York.

  • All 50 states offer some kind of incentives,

  • like tax-breaks to attract companies,

  • and the argument is, that they attract employers,

  • which attract jobs, which lead to spending,

  • which creates more jobs and so on, and so on, and so on,

  • and many places have bought into this, hard,

  • trying to outbid one another for businesses.

  • Indiana even once took out attack ads on other states,

  • like this billboard, which read, "Illinnoyed by higher taxes?

  • Come to Indiana, a state that works."

  • And that's pretty aggressive, although, it's actually much

  • tamer than their original billboard,

  • "Just Arkan-saw your tax bill?

  • Ida-hope you like our tax breaks.

  • Because if you Colora-don't,

  • we'll Conneti-cut your fucking balls off."

  • (AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

  • And if a company is big enough,

  • it can even start a bidding war itself.

  • That is actually happening right now, with Amazon.

  • They are planning to build a second headquarters

  • somewhere in North America

  • and they are making governments bid for it.

  • They even released eight pages of instructions for candidates

  • telling them to "think big and be creative,"

  • which led many cities to do stupid shit like this...

  • NEWS REPORTER 1: Overnight, the Big Apple

  • looking more like an orange.

  • New York City mayor, Bill de Blasio

  • lighting up the city in, quote, "Amazon orange."

  • The city of Birmingham is using giant Amazon boxes

  • to try to get Amazon's attention.

  • NEWS REPORTER 1: Stonecrest, Georgia offering to create

  • a new town of Amazon, Georgia.

  • They would create a new town and name it "Amazon."

  • You know, to compete, I'm not surprised

  • that Omaha, Nebraska didn't offer to let Jeff Bezos

  • kill any three people he likes.

  • 'Cause you know he would. Look at him, he wants it so bad.

  • It's the only thing he can't have and he wants it.

  • And numerous mayors made direct appeals to Amazon

  • with videos ending in versions of the same bad joke.

  • Hey Alexa, where should Amazon locate HQ2?

  • ALEXA: Hmm. In Frisco, Texas.

  • Alexa, where is the most interesting company

  • in the world gonna locate?

  • ALEXA: Obviously, Washington, DC.

  • So, Alexa, where is the best place

  • for Amazon to locate its second world headquarters?

  • ALEXA: Danbury, Connecticut.

  • I told ya so.

  • You know, my one and only worry with all of those ads,

  • and I mean this sincerely, is, are they almost too hilarious?

  • But those stunts are just window-dressing.

  • What Amazon cares much, much more about,

  • as they mentioned in their instructions 21 times,

  • are incentives.

  • And while few places are revealing what they offered,

  • we do know that New Jersey reportedly offered

  • seven billion dollars in tax breaks,

  • which is an insane amount that other places

  • may now have to compete with, and think about what that means.

  • That could mean billions of tax dollars

  • that would not be collected for things like roads,

  • or schools, or hospitals, and Amazon already has

  • more money than it knows what to do with.

  • How else could you explain the existence of Goliath?

  • A show that, and this is true, literally nobody has ever seen.

  • Nobody. No human. No animal. Nobody.

  • -Nobod-- No one. -(AUDIENCE APPLAUDING)

  • Does it even exist?

  • If you make a show and no one watches it,

  • does it exist? Discuss.

  • And... And that is the thing here.

  • We give companies a lot of money through these incentives.

  • By one estimate, in 2015 they cost state

  • and local governments 45 billion dollars.

  • And that money can go to some questionable projects.

  • For instance, a few years ago,

  • Kentucky took a big swing on this...

  • A full-size replica of Noah's ark

  • is drawing thousands of visitors to Williamstown, Kentucky.

  • REPORTER 2: This is the Ark Encounter.

  • A chapter from Genesis told on a $100 million budget.

  • Four floors of Noah, his family,

  • and beasts great and small.

  • The project received $18 million in Kentucky tax incentives.

  • Eighteen million dollars

  • of tax breaks for a gigantic ark museum.

  • And I'm not saying that is inherently a bad idea,

  • I do kind of want to see this thing,

  • especially as its website genuinely has a section

  • devoted to the question, "What about all the manure?"

  • The answer, apparently, is,

  • "Slatted floors or multiple-level cages,"

  • which is really not a good answer,

  • 'cause you do not want to be the animal on the lowest level

  • of that ship.

  • And while the ark clearly created some jobs,

  • there were some caveats to those positions...

  • REPORTER 3: Critics complain of discrimination in hiring.

  • Only Christians, no gays or lesbians,

  • and single people have to sign a chastity pledge.

  • -(AUDIENCE GASPS) -Oh, come on!

  • Aside from the homophobia,

  • chastity is a pretty weird rule to put in place for a museum

  • that's pretty much a gigantic replica of a floating fuck-zoo.

  • They... they weren't brought in two by two

  • so that everyone would have a swim-buddy,

  • they were on that boat to fuck.

  • (AUDIENCE APPLAUDS, CHEERS)

  • To fuck!

  • But the justification

  • for taking a gamble on a gigantic ark,

  • was that it would be a boom to the whole area,

  • and to hear one local official tell it,

  • the economic impact has been underwhelming.

  • The ark's success has not had the ripple effect

  • many hoped it would.

  • REPORTER 4: Downtown Williamstown,

  • which was expecting increased car and foot traffic,

  • has almost as many empty store-fronts

  • as occupied store-fronts.

  • REPORTER 5: What's it meant for downtown Williamstown?

  • Nothing.

  • I don't wanna sound negative in this interview, but...