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Letter: Cynical view on state’s bid for Amazon isn’t helpful

I depend on The Times as my hometown newspaper to offer objective viewpoints and relevant information with which I can make informed decisions about current events and issues that affect me, my family and my community. Recently, however, I have come away from several editorial pieces with more questions than answers. 

In response to The Times editorial Jan. 28, “Getting Lost in the Amazon,” I wish to address the following errors in reasoning that may have negatively impacted readers’ ability to digest the relevant information and engage in critical thinking on the issue. 

Let’s begin with the unwarranted assumption that the Georgia legislature might be swayed in its current bill debates relative to how its legislative decisions could affect Amazon’s evaluation criteria for its new HQ2 location. It is a disservice to the residents of this state to plant the seed of discontent and push an agenda of distrust, concerning the motives of the state legislative body. The assumption that state legislators cannot work through relevant issues without undue influence from multibillion-dollar corporations serves only to unnecessarily diminish public confidence in state lawmakers.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, you made an even more outrageous, unwarranted assumption that West Coast liberals moving here to work for Amazon may be the real threat, in which case legislators would be concerned about the color of the state at election time.

One of the most disappointing aspects of the piece was the error in reasoning of stereotyping Georgia’s politicians. There are still those of us who resist cynicism related to politics, so when you categorize all politicians into a group whose behavior is fueled by a not-so-honorable motive, it is insulting. Try holding your cynicism in check so your readers can decide for themselves if their elected officials are serving the public in good faith or being unduly swayed by electoral concerns.

At the very least, provide your readers with facts to back up your statements on policy stance instead of making a very broad statement that oversimplifies the intricate, multifaceted process that is public policy formation.

Lastly, your use of the “either/or outlook” error in reasoning contends that only one outcome to this issue is possible, either the legislature approves using budget funds for tax incentives to attract the Amazon HQ2 or to support or improve state infrastructure needs. Why not both? 

I should not even need to point out that 50,000 jobs is a lot. Even if 10,000 people come from out of state, 40,000 jobs is a lot. Understatement of the year really. Look, if Georgia is selected by Amazon for its HQ2, the massive creation of jobs will make us and our infrastructure better and stronger.

Infrastructure, the citizenry and the legislature are all symbiotic; we rely on one another to sustain the other. We need you to present reasoned views that are relevant and supported by facts to ensure that we can be confident in thinking critically about current events.

Robin Aiken


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