Now that my fever has lifted and my flu is gone, I went back to see if I had actually hallucinated a speech by AOC on how wealthy people should behave. And as you probably know – if you’ve got a strong stomach and a masochistic desire to be lectured by uninformed ex-bartenders – I did not hallucinate that speech. It is a real thing that happened.
Now some people say that AOC is a pretty face stuck onto an empty head. Others say that she’s the kind of crackpot socialist who wouldn’t be able to start or run a business if her life depended on it. Still others say that her inability to properly execute a drink order is exceeded only by her inability to understand basic economic principles.
Yet even more others say that her earning a degree in economics from BU is the greatest stain on an American university’s reputation since Bill Clinton spent several years teaching law and Advanced Co-ed Groping (5 credits, counting the lab work) at the University of Arkansas.
And all of those people are absolutely correct.
So why would I take the time to dissect her latest interview?
Because it is hilarious, of course. But also because she may be the most accurate representative of the outlook, philosophy and agenda of the most committed and influential part of the leftist base of the Democrat party, and is thus worthy of our attention.
She was interviewed by Ta-Nehisi (gesundheit) Coates, who is quite an over-rated thinker himself. But sitting next to AOC, he looks like a cross between Stephen Hawking and Wittgenstein and some other really smart guy whom I can’t think of now because I’m appreciably dumber after having read AOC’s ramblings.
In an interview to celebrate MLK Day, AOC discussed her plan for a 70% top income tax rate, explaining that the moral question involved is, “What kind of a society do we want to live in? Are we comfortable with a society where someone can have a personal helipad while this city is experiencing the highest level of poverty and homelessness since the Great Depression.”
First, I’m not sure that the biggest economic boom of the last 50 years squares with the highest poverty rate since the depression. On the other hand, NYC is completely ruled by leftists, and their ability to create high poverty rates can’t be denied, so…
Second, what? A HELIPAD? That’s the problem in NYC? All of those damn helipads, cluttering up the place? Why, it’s getting so bad that one of the Democrats’ pet homeless guys can barely get his sleeping bag rolled out before he has to run for cover to avoid the descending helicopter that lands right on his stuff.
Because everyone knows that one of the leading quality-of-life problems facing the homeless is the heartbreak of helicopter landing-gear tire marks on your sleeping bag.
It’s a cliché because it’s true.
When AOC was then asked if it’s possible to live in a moral society that includes billionaires, she said (duh!), “No, it’s not. I’m not saying that Bill Gates or Warren Buffet [and yes, she left me off that list just because she knows how much it bugs me] are immoral. But a system that allows billionaires to exist when there are parts of Alabama where people are still getting ringworm because they don’t have access to public health is wrong.”
Ah, yes. Remember that glorious time before Carnegie and John Rockefeller, when the Western hemisphere was blessedly ring-worm-free? Well, not anymore. Thanks, economically super-successful jerks!
She had some more “thoughts” on economic inequality, too:
“I think it’s wrong that the majority of the country doesn’t make a living wage.” To which I can only say, Source?
“I think it’s wrong that you can work 100 hours and not feed your kids.” Source??
“I think it’s wrong that corporations like Walmart and Amazon can get paid by the government, experiencing a wealth transfer from the public, for paying people less than a minimum wage.” Source???
That’s three sentences in a row that start with “I think,” with nary an actual thought in sight.
But don’t worry, because she did a senior research project at BU in Widget Production. So when Ta-Nehisi (gesundheit) posed the, “I’m a billionaire who made and sold widgets” hypothetical question, he was right in her wheel-house:
“Well, you didn’t make those widgets, did you?” the bottom-quintile bartender replied. “Because you employed thousands of people and paid them less than a living wage to make those widgets for you. You sat on a couch while thousands of people were paid modern-day slave wages.”
I love that she is offered a hypothetical about a non-existent product, and she imagines a fully-fleshed out world that is made up out of whole cloth, and yet it just coincidentally corresponds to the hateful, envious world-view of the far left:
How many employees are engaged in widget-making? Thousands. (No CAD-heavy widget-manufacturing workplace for her!)
What do those employees get paid? Less than a living wage. (Yet somehow they are still alive? How does that work, exactly?)
What furniture does a widget magnate favor? A couch.
Oh, wait, now those sub-living wages have plummeted from the last sentence… now they’re “slave wages!”
Um, Ms. Cortez? I’m no antebellum history buff, but if I remember correctly, slaves didn’t have “wages.” That was a pretty big part of being a slave, I think.
Anyway, AOC believes that the idea that Americans should aspire to “be a billionaire and own more than millions of families combined’ is not an aspirational or good thing.” (By the way, I wonder if she’s offended that I pay more in federal income taxes than “millions of families combined?” Not because I’m super-successful – though, have I mentioned my amazing wife and family, and world-class dog? – but because 48% of Americans pay no federal income taxes.)
Her main take-away quote is that, “No one ever makes a billion dollars. You take a billion dollars.”
Got that? If you produce a good or service for which millions of people voluntarily exchange their own money, and your piece of that ever totals a billion dollars, you are a thief – a taker, not a maker. And AOC says that our system “should not let [you] exist.”
Yikes. Is there any other way to read that other than you should either be killed, or at least robbed?
And what is the magic number where net worth tips over from “good/aspirational” to “must not be allowed?”
I know that it’s not six figures, because she went from bartender’s wages to that when she got elected, and she doesn’t seem troubled. And if she’s a typical pol, she’ll have a net worth in the millions very soon, and I’m guessing that that amount of wealth won’t perturb her.
Because you “make” $100k, and you “make” $1 million.
But you “take” $1 billion. You ring-worm-spreading, fascist helipad-enthusiast!
The scariest thing isn’t that the way she looks at the economy and our society is so uninformed and malevolent. It’s that when she spouted this garbage, she was in a giant, public space full of people who were supposed to be there to honor MLK Jr., and she got repeated rounds of applause for doing it.
No, I take that back. There’s one thing scarier.
In fact, consider this a trigger warning: If you are faint of heart or weak of stomach, please stop reading right now. Because I’m about to share with you the single scariest paragraph I’ve read since years ago, when I came across the part in Pet Sematary where that unutterably creepy dead cat shows up back at the house.
Okay, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
One of the fawning articles about AOC’s interview ended this way:
“The representative was recently appointed to serve on the House Financial Services Committee, which oversees Wall Street. ‘I’m looking forward to digging into the student loan crisis, examining for-profit prisons/ICE detention, and exploring the development of public & postal banking,’ she said in a tweet.”
Avenatti/Ring Worm, 2020!