Everytime Congressional candidate and poster child for democratic socialism, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, opens her mouth to speak, she reminds us why socialism doesn’t work. Proudly assuming the role as spokesperson for the “rising” American democratic socialist movement after grabbing the Democratic Party’s nomination earlier this year, she has wasted no time commenting on current events. The only problem is, every time she attempts to stand up for working-class Americans, she either proves her economic illiteracy or makes a strong case for capitalism.
Minimum Wage Hikes Destroy Jobs
Recently, Ocasio-Cortez crafted a sentimental tweet, lamenting the closing of a local establishment where she used to work. Her tweet read:
“The restaurant I used to work at is closing its doors. I swung by today to say hi one last time, and kid around with friends like old times.”
After drawing attention to the closing of the restaurant, which is a popular coffee shop in Union Square in New York City, reporters made an interesting discovery. When the co-owner of “The Coffee Shop,” Charles Milite, was asked why his establishment was closing he explained that it was a result of the increased minimum wage.
Milite told the New York Post, “the minimum wage is going up and we have a huge number of employees.” Ocasio-Cortez is, of course, an outspoken advocate for raising the minimum wage. When she was interviewed by the Daily Show’s Trevor Noah, she commented:
“Raising the minimum wage to a living wage will expand the economy. It will create wealth in our economy. And it will increase economic activity in this country.”
Unfortunately, this just isn’t the case. A few years ago, a new minimum wage law was passed, incrementally increasing the wage rate to $15 per hour over the course of a few years. While the full implementation is still two years away, the current minimum wage rate has reached $13 per hour. And as a result, many Manhattan businesses have been struggling to stay financially afloat now that they are forced to pay their employees so much more. The Coffee Shop has over 150 workers who will soon be out of a job because the owners cannot afford to pay the 36 percent increase in costs to their employees.
This situation may have slid under the radar, but Ocasio-Cortez ’s tweet helped shed light on the situation and prove that raising the minimum wage, a policy she supports, simply doesn’t work. In fact, The American Action Forum estimates that 261,000 jobs will be lost this year as a result of minimum wage hikes. But this is not the only time Ocasio-Cortez has been caught with her foot in her mouth.
Uber vs. Cabs
In March, when a former Uber driver had fallen on hard times financially and chose to end his own life, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted:
“NYC’s fourth driver suicide. Yellow cab drivers are in financial ruin due to the unregulated expansion of Uber. What was a living wage job now pays under minimum.”
Of course, the tragic situation is in no way Uber’s fault, Ocasio-Cortez wasted no time casting blame. Neither did the cab industry, who used this tragedy to launch a campaign that would inevitably result in a city-wide cap on Uber vehicles.
Capitalizing on the situation as a means of furthering her agenda, Ocasio-Cortez backed the taxi unions and commented:
– to call Uber drivers what they are: EMPLOYEES, not contractors
– Fed jobs guarantee
– Prep for automation”
Not only are her views on a “living wage” wrong, as we saw previously, but Ocasio-Cortez’s actions seem to tell a much different story than her passionate tweet.
During the course of her campaign, Ocasio-Cortez spent over $4,000 on 160 Uber rides from April-June 2006. And those number only account for her Uber use in California alone. It should be noted that she is not running in California, but she has a huge donor base there, which, considering the political climate of the Golden State, should be of no surprise.
It was also discovered that an additional $2,500 was spent on another ridesharing company, Juno. But Ocasio-Cortez is hardly alone in this hypocrisy. Mr. American Democratic Socialist himself, Bernie Sanders, met the same public criticism after it was discovered that he preferred Uber to taxicabs. This, of course, came after he had publicly condemned the company for being “unregulated.”
It would seem that socialism continues to be better in theory than it is in practice, which is evidenced by the ideologies own followers. While Ocasio-Cortez might be a better spokesperson than Sanders, that is not saying much. Democratic socialism will never fully catch on in America because the free market is too convenient. It is what has given employees competitive wages and bestowed the sharing economy upon consumers.
Ocasio-Cortez can complain about capitalism all she wants, but until she is willing to give up her Uber rides, it is unlikely that she will be taken seriously.