01/10

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

20190110

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Congresswoman D NY 14th {Bronx (City Island, Country Club, Morris Park, Parkchester, Pelham Bay, Schuylerville, Throggs Neck), Queens (Astoria, College Point, Corona, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Woodside)}) was born October 13th 1989 and took office January 3rd 2019. This makes her the youngest woman to have ever served in US Conrgress. She is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America. Her election was an upset. A very big upset. She took Joseph Crowley's seat. Joe is an establishment Democrat. He held the 14th district from 1999 to 2019 after having served on the New York State Assembly. He was also previously the Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, and Chair of the Queens County Democratic Party.

The DSA Constitution, Article II. Purpose reads as follows:

We are socialists because we reject an economic order based on private profit, alienated labor, gross inequalities of wealth and power, discrimination based on race, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, disability status, age, religion, and national origin, and brutality and violence in defense of the status quo. We are socialists because we share a vision of a humane social order based on popular control of resources and production, economic planning, equitable distribution, feminism, racial equality and non-oppressive relationships. We are socialists because we are developing a concrete strategy for achieving that vision, for building a majority movement that will make democratic socialism a reality in America. We believe that such a strategy must acknowledge the class structure of American society and that this class structure means that there is a basic conflict of interest between those sectors with enormous economic power and the vast majority of the population.

So, here, I must make an objection. First, the DSA rejects an "economic order based on private profit." This as opposed to what? Are you simply going to compel the action of individuals? What other economic order is proposed? Economic planning and "equitable distribution" are later mentioned as is popular control of resources. At the same time, "non-oppressive relationships" are upheld, as are the rejection of brutality and violence. I should point out that the rider on the rejection of violence is that they reject violence only when it is used in defense of the status quo, and therefore the use of violence to maintain equitable distribution and economic productivity without profit is completely fine.

Ocasio-Cortez has trumpeted the thought of morality as her reason for being socialist. I would argue that a belief in the use of force to take from one and give to another is not moral. I would argue that a belief in policies that would by purpose destroy the economy or by effect render the economy inert is not moral. When we speak of the economy we are speaking of the actions of individuals as they go about their days to fill their bellies, pay their mortgages, and clothe their children. It stands that to speak of an economy is to speak of the well-being of those participating in said economy. Ocasio-Cortez, then, cannot be moral.

Like Trump, she's very politically savvy. She will speak out both sides of her mouth when it suits her and use emotion to deflect criticism. In an interview with Rachel Maddow on MSNBC she said that "we have to make sure that we get our facts straight" but in an interview with Anderson Cooper she said that facts are irrelevant and that morality is what matters. Talking to Rachel Maddow her point was that Trump got crime statistics wildly wrong, and with Cooper she got budget estimates wildly wrong. However, she also told Cooper that she prefers people to underestimate her, and she claims that this was precisely what helped her win her primary.

She too uses social media frequently. She too rode a wave of political discontent that is decidedly anti-establishment directly into office. The difference is that while Trump's populism swings to the right (the lone exception being his anti-war stance) Ocasio-Cortez's populism swings far left. Their strategies are the same, their speech is simple and emotional, their media presence is constant, people underestimate both, and both are upset candidates.

To be clear, I disagree with both politicians, and I think both are actually fairly mainline in their views. The only stance that Trump has taken that was unorthodox was war, and the only position that Ocasio-Cortez has taken that was unorthodox was the extreme to which she takes her stances on policy. Let's run through it.

TAXES

Ocasio-Cortez has said she is in favor of a 70% tax rate on those individuals who make 10M/year or more. According to the WaPo this would bring in 720 billion over a decade. The thing people forget here is that humans respond to incentives. People will not behave the same when conditions change so your fancy graphs don't really work. As much as the government and statisticians want people to be reduced to numbers, humans seem to resist becoming mere numbers on a page. The wealthy are already wealthy. They can simply cease working and take both themselves and their money out of the country and away from politicians' greedy hands.

EDUCATION

Representative Alexendria Ocasio-Cortez supports free college tuition and student loan forgiveness. This just further skews the incentives for colleges and universities to continue raising rates. Just like healthcare, when the purchaser and payer are separated, rates will rise. As the service offerer knows that the money can be had by you for little increase in cost on your behalf, they increase their fees. This will do nothing to shrink the total burden on the student as either monetary inflation or increased government debt and therefore increased taxation will be required to pay for these tuitions. Further, this requires a farmer in Oklahoma to pay for a gender studies major in NYC (already the case since students aren't paying off their loans from the government already). This isn't moral at all.

ENVIRONMENT

Much of the push behind the 70% tax rate already mentioned is the Green New Deal. Depending upon what form of GND Ocasio-Cortez desires, this can range from simply green infrastructure projects to wealth redistribution on a massive scale. Ocasio-Cortez has said that she believes climate change to be the "single biggest national security threat" to the USA, and further believes that she could transition the USA to using only renewables 10 years from the date of the passing of the GND. Personally, I do not believe that is possible. This would require all gas stations to become electrical charging stations, all power plants to be converted or new ones built and old ones shut down. This is highly out of line with reality. Power plants are rather complicated. Plant Vogtle in Georgia (nuclear) has a commission date for reactor 3 in 2013 and is not projected to be completed until 2021, reactor 4 in 2013 with a projected completion year of 2022. This is just construction. That doesn't include testing and turn on. To generate power for the USA, we can imagine large scale construction projects that would require more than a decade to complete, but apparently for this self-described socialist things can happen on much smaller time scales despite what reality shows us.

HEALTHCARE

Naturally, the Representative supports single-payer healthcare. She views healthcare as a human right, and believes that all people should have access to healthcare without breaking the bank. Of course, single payer healthcare would be far too expensive for the USA to afford, further requiring monetary inflation and/or higher taxes which would break the bank, but apparently that form of cost doesn't matter to Ms Ocasio-Cortez. I also take issue with her assessment of healthcare as a human right. No human can have a right to the labor of another human.

IMMIGRATION

Ocasio-Cortez has shifted her opinions on immigration into murky territory. She once called for the abolition of ICE but has since walked back on that and wants pathways for citizenship through decriminalization, but simultaneously doesn't want to abolish deportation.

VARIOUS

Ocasio-Cortez wishes to impeach President Donald Trump for emoluments which would be difficult to prove. She supports a two-state solution in Israel. She wishes to extend more rights to Puerto Ricans. She's supportive of the GSM (gender and sexual minorities) community.


None of that is at all controversial in the current political climate. Ocasio-Cortez differs only in her extreme on the education and green issues, and not at all in the actual content. For all of her hatred of megacorps and of financial elites, she argues in favor of regulations and taxes that would only serve to further entrench the elite as their competition would be crushed by such measures leaving only the elites capable of surviving.

Much of what Ocasio-Cortez wants to do would require more money than any budget the government has run so far, and that is with the government having run trillion dollar deficits for some time now. This is insane. The country cannot should such high debt burdens. The first rumblings of financial collapse have already been heard. The higher the debt, the higher the liabilities, the worse this will get. Already, inflation cannot be successfully combatted as any substantial rise in interest rates would render the government unable to service the debt it currently has, and the government's debt servicing is quickly becoming a larger piece of government spending.

To my eyes, Ocasio-Cortez is the most savvy socialist currently in the US government. She has done well politically, and given her age it would seem she has a very long career ahead of her. I wish her the best, but I sincerely hope that she comes to realize that her current political opinions are both immoral and infeasible.