New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is exactly the kind of person poet Alexander Pope warned about when he wrote the famous line, “A little learning is a dangerous thing.”
The former bartender and economics major turned Democratic congresswoman is now doling out tax advice to help young adults take advantage of a “loophole” in the federal coronavirus relief legislation.
In a virtual town hall on Wednesday, AOC took the opportunity to pick apart the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act — signed into law March 27 to help Americans suffering economic damage from the COVID-19 pandemic — because she believes some people were left out of it.
In the town hall, meant to instruct people on how to collect benefits, Ocasio-Cortez railed against a supposed “gap” in relief to people ages 17-24 who are being claimed on their parents’ tax returns as “dependent children.”
Since a dependent over age 16 could not receive the $1,200 individual benefit or the $500 benefit for his or her parents, AOC recommended what Fox News called a “loophole” to change the way the child is claimed.
Although Ocasio-Cortez recommended seeking professional tax advice, it appears that she was encouraging young people to give up the proverbial bird in the hand for just a few feathers in the bush by not being claimed by the parent in order to receive the $1,200 individual rebate.
Currently, the IRS allows parents to receive up to $2,000 tax credit for children under 19, or up to 24 if they’re students. If the person taking AOC’s advice were even to qualify under for the individual rebate, it likely would still be less than the parents’ tax credit. So it seems, as usual, she was speaking about something even though she knows little about it.
Still, Ocasio-Cortez did her best impression of an accountant and recommended that if “you have not yet filed in 2019, talk to the person who is claiming you as a dependent and figure out if your personal situation would be better if you all filed separately, or if it ends up being still being the best thing to do to file together. So make sure you have that conversation.”
She urged those who would qualify but have not filed to “fix it by filing your 2019 return as soon as possible.”
The enormous relief bill includes a provision that would provide a $1,200 rebate check to individuals making less than $75,000 annually (or $112,000 as heads of household), $2,400 to couples making less than $150,000 annually and $500 per child for each dependent under 16.
As you might expect, AOC whined about the legislation not doing enough for individuals and doing too much to help corporations.
“The developments of this Senate relief bill are concerning,” Ocasio-Cortez groaned in her tweet prior to the bill’s final passage. “We are hearing lots of vague statements, but not a single member of Congress has seen actual bill text. It seems to give a *HALF TRILLION DOLLARS* away to big corporations, w/ few worker protections. Half a trillion.”
The developments of this Senate relief bill are concerning.
We are hearing lots of vague statements, but not a single member of Congress has seen actual bill text.
It seems to give a *HALF TRILLION DOLLARS* away to big corporations, w/ few worker protections.
Half a trillion.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 24, 2020
While she is correct that there is a gap for those who don’t qualify for the rebate or the tax credit, consider the economic condition of that group.
Dependents 17-24 are young adults for whom costs such as housing, utilities and possibly even food are mostly taken care of by the parents (hence the term “dependents”).
Of course, many of them are feeling the impact of their part-time work drying up or being suspended as restaurants and retail stores close, but since they are not supporting themselves or their own children, it does not require the same remedy as others who are, which is why that particular group was left out.
The adult dependents falling into the so-called gap were not the only individuals AOC thought weren’t getting enough goodies. During the town hall, Ocasio-Cortez also chastised Republicans for not creating “recurring payments” and that would essentially amount to a bloated welfare expansion.
“In fact, what we fought for was $2,000 per person in addition to more monthly, recurring payments if you have children. … The Republicans refused, absolutely refused,” she said.
Besides saying the legislation didn’t do enough, AOC also called the relief effort — you guessed it — racist.
On Friday, she tweeted that the virus — which has killed more than 72,000 people worldwide to date, according to Johns Hopkins — is a result of inequality.
“COVID deaths are disproportionately spiking in Black + Brown communities,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a tweet Friday, playing epidemiologist this time. “Why? Because the chronic toll of redlining, environmental racism, wealth gap, etc. ARE underlying health conditions.
“Inequality is a comorbidity. COVID relief should be drafted with a lens of reparations.”
COVID deaths are disproportionately spiking in Black + Brown communities.
Why? Because the chronic toll of redlining, environmental racism, wealth gap, etc. ARE underlying health conditions.
Inequality is a comorbidity. COVID relief should be drafted with a lens of reparations.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) April 3, 2020
Apparently, AOC doesn’t realize that pandemics include people of all races and nationalities by definition. Her epidemiology knowledge is clearly as solid as her accounting chops.
Ocasio-Cortez is another opportunistic politician trying to use the virus and criticism of the relief to her own advantage. While people die and the federal government does its best to provide unprecedented relief, Ocasio-Cortez can do nothing more than trot out talking points.
AOC has no business telling people how to exploit a tax loophole, but what’s worse is that her advice might cause more harm than good for the very people she is purportedly trying to help.
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