The Corner

Politics & Policy

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Is Still Wrong: An Update

Once again, we are faced with hard evidence that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez does not know very much. Ignorance is difficult to hide when one is running for Congress —especially when one spends a good deal of time being displayed on television as the new face of the Left.

When Trevor Noah asked Ocasio-Cortez whether implementing a $15 minimum wage would stifle economic growth, Ocasio-Cortez responded a) that data from Seattle show that isn’t true and b) that 200 million Americans, 40 percent of the country, make less than $20,000 per year.

As regards a), see this Corner post about a study that shows exactly the opposite.

As regards b), well, Ocasio-Cortez is seriously innumerate. The population of the United States is around 328 million. The working-age population, however, is smaller: The Bureau of Labor Statistics puts it around 255 million in 2017.

There is no number related to the U.S. population of which 200 million could be 40 percent. It is not 40 percent of anything. Meanwhile, the median household income in 2016 was $57,230, and not even in a subdivided demographic group does Ocasio-Cortez’s assertion make any sense.

Her comment on the minimum wage was followed immediately by an explanation that “it all goes back to money in politics,” especially because Private Equity People benefit from low wages, so they fund congressmen who vote against the $15 minimum wage, so she won’t take money from corporate PACs. Got that?

The oddities rush by so quickly one can hardly keep up. It is clear that she uses “private equity” as a metonym for “people who have a good deal of money,” since private-equity firms gain no particular advantage from a low minimum wage. That would depend on the industry in which the firms are investing.

Ocasio-Cortez ended by saying that last year “we gave the military a $700 billion budget increase which they didn’t even ask for!” Perhaps this is a function of government expenditure’s dealing in numbers so large no one can conceptualize them anymore, but $700 billion was the Pentagon’s entire budget this year. In other words, Congress gave the military $700 billion in total, not in addition to its 2017 allotment.

One hopes her next interviewer will push back when she tries to unload another tangled, fact-scant mess. In the meantime, Ocasio-Cortez will continue to give even socialists a bad name.

Liam Warner — Liam Warner is an editorial intern at National Review.

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