Kroger is one of America's largest, most profitable grocery chains, with $2b in profits in 2019. Ohio just gave it a 15-year, 75% tax subsidy in exchange for locating some data centers in the state. Pat Garofalo offers some sharp comments on the deal.
Data center subsidies are the ultimate sucker-bet. States and cities that subsidize data-centers to get local jobs end up spending $2 million (up to $6m!) PER JOB. Data centers are expensive but they also employ very few people, after all.
Now, you may be asking yourself, wait, why does a grocery chain - even one with $2B/year in profits - need a pair of data centers? Groceries are a data-intensive business, but they're not THAT data-intensive.
The answer: Kroger's starting a "ghost kitchen" sideline. That's when giant corporations set up predatory sweatshops in shipping containers where employees (misclassified as contractors) earn sub-minimum-wage pennies to produce delivery meals.
Ghost kitchens ARE data-intensive, because their corporate masters do deep analysis from their predatory delivery business to find vulnerable local restaurants to clone and drive out of business, replacing searches for the local eatery with their ghost-kitchen knock-off.
And Kroger doesn't even need to tap its investors to subsidize the destruction of Ohio's beloved local restaurants - already weakened by the pandemic and weak stimulus for small businesses, especially bars and restaurants.
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