“Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is right. A 70% tax on the rich makes sense.”
It’s not just because that’s the most U.K. Guardian headline ever that I mention it.
It’s that the official paper of 10 out of 10 people still hanging on to that Jeremy Corbyn dream managed to hit roughly the median of media reaction after AOC introduced this completely untenable plan when she arrived in Congress in January 2019.
NBC News: “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s 70 percent tax on the rich isn’t about revenue, it’s about decreasing inequality.” (Hah!)
CNBC: “Ocasio-Cortez’s 70% tax plan gets fierce response, but even Warren Buffett says rich should pay more.”
Vox: “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is floating a 70 percent top tax rate — here’s the research that backs her up.” (Sub-headline: “Some studies indicate she’s aiming too low.”)
She’d better hope she wasn’t. I say this not because I’m terribly concerned about her electoral fortunes (unless the Democrats decide they’ve reached the point of AOC-saturation and eliminate her seat after the census, she’ll be with us as a legislator until she’s no longer able to or desirous of serving).
I say that because it seems she has a bit of an issue with her taxes. Namely, she can’t even pay an outstanding $2,000 bill issued by the state.
According to the New York Post, Ocasio-Cortez is the founder of Brook Avenue Press. Here’s the genius business model behind this 2012 business venture: It wanted, according to the Post, to get “designers, artists and writers from urban areas to help paint The Bronx in a positive way in children’s stories.”
Now, for those of you outside of the NYC area, you probably have a negative impression of The Bronx left over from 1980s hip-hop videos. That’s actually somewhat erroneous, particularly given The Bronx of 2020.
Even with that, however, I’m curious how this business model was supposed to work. There’s not a huge market for books that help paint The Bronx in a positive light, even given the city’s school system.
Anyhow, public records indicate that New York state dissolved Brook Avenue Press four years later in October 2016; the reason the state would move in to dissolve a business is if a company either fails to pay its corporate tax bill or just decides filing a return just isn’t worth it.
“As of Friday, the tax warrant had still not been satisfied, and the outstanding balance had grown to $2,088.78,” the Post reported.
Ocasio-Cortez’s camp, meanwhile, says the bill was “in error.
“The congresswoman is still in the process of contesting the tax warrant. The business has been closed for several years now, and so we believe that the state Tax Department has continued to collect the franchise tax in error,” AOC spokeswoman Lauren Hitt said.
Are you accusing the tax authorities of getting things wrong? They’re the government, though. Surely she’s not conceding they got a tax bill messed up for four years!
“As anyone who’s tried to contest a tax bill in error knows, it takes time,” Hitt said.
So, TL;DR version: Tax compliance for thee, not for me. Or, to quote that notable democratic socialist, Leona Helmsley, “We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s primary opponent, former CNBC contributor Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, slammed AOC’s apparent tax noncompliance.
“She just thinks she’s better than everyone else. Clearly, she’s worse,” said the spokesman for Caruso-Cabrera, Hank Sheinkopf.
Well, not necessarily. The realities of socialism or communism — unless you believe in the kind of socialism that’s “never really been tried, man” — is that there’s a permanent overclass who believes the rules don’t apply to them because they don’t.
Look at the most prominent example: the USSR. Do you think that top officials in the Politburo were driving Moscow around in beat-up Ladas? No — they were being chauffeured in limousines.
They may not have been nice limousines, but that wasn’t because of class equality — it was because Russia couldn’t make anything better.
We’re not the Soviet Union, obviously, but the mentality still holds: Come the revolution, everyone with the rose next to their name on Twitter expects to be the shot-callers, not the ones who now have the shots called for them.
The rules will always be different for them — and why shouldn’t they be? They’re working so much harder for you, after all.
So your taxes are going up to a 70 percent marginal rate? That’s for the benefit of everyone else, comrade.
That’s not your money, after all — that’s money that could make other people’s lives better.
Meanwhile, if you’re not among the elect, you’re not going to get the same kind of treatment AOC gets.
After all, all bureaucrats are equal, but some bureaucrats are more equal than others.
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