“Because THAT kind of rich is simply not good for society.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., on Saturday seemed to walk back her promises to tax the rich.
In a lengthy Twitter thread about her political vision, Ocasio-Cortez acknowledged that some Americans might now see her as wealthy given her congressional salary and healthcare benefits.
“I’m paid similarly to a doctor or corporate lawyer, she said, noting that she had so far received three paychecks.
But the self-described Democratic socialists clarified that she had never meant “rich” to refer to people like herself. Rather, she said, she had always wanted to tax just “like 10 people.”
In bombastic language, she listed the kinds of people she had been thinking of when she suggested hiking the marginal tax rate on income above $10 million and introducing a wealth tax: Education Secretary Betsy Devos, people with large yachts and people in the private prison, student-loan and oil industries.
“Because THAT kind of rich is simply not good for society,” she declared.
When we say “tax the rich,” we mean nesting-doll yacht rich. For-profit prison rich. Betsy DeVos, student-loan-shark rich.
Trick-the-country-into-war rich. Subsidizing-workforce-w-food-stamps rich.
Because THAT kind of rich is simply not good for society, & it’s like 10 people.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 11, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez’s definition of rich would also seem to exempt from higher taxes someone like Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., a fellow leftist with whom she on Thursday proposed capping credit card interest rates. Sanders last month outed himself as a millionaire.
A number of commentators called Ocasio-Cortez’s definition of rich arbitrary and self-serving. Former White House Press Secretary tweeted that the freshman congresswoman seemed to include “people who do things she doesn’t like.”
“This is why socialism turns into authoritarianism,” he added. “This is very Venezuela of her.”
Very informative tweet by AOC. When she says “tax the rich”, she means tax people who do things she doesn’t like. It’s not how much money you make. It’s who you are and what you do. This is why socialism turns into authoritarianism. This is very Venezuela of her. https://t.co/itZf9kCTzG
— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) May 11, 2019
Elsewhere in her Twitter thread, Ocasio-Cortez went on at length about how banks supposedly judge the character of people who are poor or have bad credit, when in fact, society is to blame for their problems.
“Paying people less than what’s needed to live is what’s actually responsible,” she said.
She later added, “GDP + costs are rising, wages are not. That doesn’t mean YOU’RE bad. It means working people are set up to fail.”
To illustrate the point, Ocasio-Cortez cited her own experience of going from bartending in New York a year ago to serving in Congress.
“According to banks, I’d be more ‘responsible,'” she said, “but my character hasn’t changed. Just my math.”
- Then-congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with her campaign team in the Bronx, New York, on May 21, 2018.: Instagram