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Ocasio-Cortez Calls for 70 Percent Tax on Wealthy to Fund Green New Deal

Democratic Congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks in the Bronx, N.Y., November 1, 2018. (Jeenah Moon/REUTERS)

During a Sixty Minutes interview set to air Sunday, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) suggested the government can fund her ambitious “green new deal agenda by imposing a 70 percent income tax on the wealthiest Americans.

In a clip of the interview released Friday, Ocasio-Cortez argues more Americans should pay “their fair share” in taxes to fund an extensive clean energy infrastructure initiative she and her fellow freshman progressive lawmakers have dubbed the “green new deal.

Pressed by CNN’s Anderson Cooper on the specifics of her taxation plan, Ocasio-Cortez proposed a drastic income tax increase on the wealthiest Americans and labeled herself a “radical in the mold of Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt.

“But once you get to the tippie tops, on your $10 millionth, sometimes you see tax rates as high as 60% or 70%. That doesn’t mean all $10 million are taxed at an extremely high rate. But it means that as you climb up this ladder, you should be contributing more,” she said.

Cooper responded by characterizing the proposal as a “radical agenda.”

“If that’s what radical means, call me a radical,” Ocasio-Cortez responded.

A self-described democratic socialist who unseated incumbent Joe Crowley in New York’s 14th district in November, Ocasio-Cortez has embraced a deeply progressive agenda that includes tuition-free higher education and universal health care. She sparred with Democratic leadership in the weeks leading up to her swearing in over the creation of a special select committee dedicated to combatting climate change — a proposal older, establishment Democrats rejected as unnecessarily disruptive.

In describing the “green new deal” on previous occasions, Ocasio-Cortez has suggested the initiative would not only combat climate change but also redress racial grievances and spur economic growth.

“We can use the transition to 100 percent [renewable] energy as the vehicle to truly deliver and establish economic, social, and racial justice in the United States of America,” Ocasio-Cortez said during a panel discussion on Capitol Hill with Vermont senator Bernie Sanders and environmental activist Bill McKibben.

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