One of the common themes of the 2019 campaign so far is that a) you’re going to get a lot of stuff from the government and b) you’re not going to have to pay for it.
How this is going to work is still kind of beyond me. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has issued the most detailed plan of how she will pay for stuff like “Medicare for all” and free college, which involves a marginal wealth tax on millionaires and billionaires.
Beyond the fact that this is probably unconstitutional, it’s also not going to come close to paying for all of these handouts; it’s basically like trying to take the fitted sheet from your child’s crib and trying to cover your king-sized mattress with it. If you somehow manage to make it work, it’s not too late to file for the primaries. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the other maven of free stuff, has wisely declined to say how he’s going to pay for it.
However, let’s assume you believe all of these handouts can be paid for without middle- or lower-class Americans paying a single cent for it. If you’re showing up at an Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez event, you probably believe this is all doable. Fair enough. So do you believe this is free stuff? After all, to quote a certain former president, you didn’t build that.
Well, actually, the New York Democrat believes you did:
.@AOC: I’m tired of this idea that #MedicareForAll and tuition free public colleges are some hand out from somebody else. Nobody else is giving us a damn thing. We build this on our own. pic.twitter.com/k8IL6Gfq8I
— Public Citizen (@Public_Citizen) December 10, 2019
“It belongs to us anyway,” Ocasio-Cortez said at the Tuesday event.
“I’m tired of this idea that ‘Medicare for all’ and tuition-free public colleges are some handout from somebody else. Nobody else is giving us a damn thing. We build this on our own. We fund it, we establish it, we fight for it, we create it, and no one should be able to take it from us as they have been.”
Public Citizen, the non-profit Ralph Nader set up in the early 1970s to ensure he wasn’t best remembered as the guy who killed the Chevrolet Corvair, helped publicize the video on social media. After it was posted, it raised a few interesting questions like this one:
— Mark Young (@MarkYoungTruth) December 11, 2019
We’ve been told that if we’re not one of those super-millionaires, we’re not going to be paying for any of this. And yet, we’re also being told by Ocasio-Cortez that “[w]e build this on our own. We fund it, we establish it, we fight for it, we create it, and no one should be able to take it from us as they have been.”
So which is it?
I would hope — although I wouldn’t hope too hard — that what Ocasio-Cortez is doing here is admitting that “Medicare for all” and free college tuition will pretty much require everyone to pay higher taxes and not just the rich. The likelihood that’s actually what’s happening here is, well, slim.
Is this just mindless campaign free association? Again, that’s also possible. One could posit it as the most likely reason behind that. This is just AOC saying stuff that sounds pretty good when strung together. Does it have to make sense? Nobody who’s behind her programs is going to see this criticism and have the scales fall from their eyes.
However, there is a third possibility, and it’s a moderately frightening one: AOC is insinuating that they funded, established, fought for and created it by trying to take your money to fund, establish, fight for and create it.
“Nobody else is giving us a damn thing. We build this on our own.” – @AOC
All we need is your money! https://t.co/7GM8b8ltkW
— Jeryl Bier (@JerylBier) December 10, 2019
Is this what she’s referring to? They built the movement for “Medicare for all.” They’re the ones who are taking the money out of people’s pockets. It’s not free stuff if you have to fight for it, after all. In other words, she’s lying to the poor and vulnerable.
The problem, it seems, is convincing the people who will end up paying for it that it was theirs to begin with. Good luck with that.
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