In a telling interview with Pod Save America released yesterday, current leftist darling and Democratic House candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez gave a telling non-answer to the question of how she proposes to pay for her avowedly socialist agenda of “housing, healthcare, and education for all.” So Ms. Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t whine that I’m not playing fair, I’ll provide the entire relevant part of her statement. After sputtering for a moment, she answers:
“You know, they say 'how are you gonna pay for it,' as though they haven’t used these same ways to pay for unlimited wars, to pay for trillion-dollar tax cuts and tax cut extensions. They use these mechanisms to pay for these things all the time. They only want to know . . . It just seems like their pockets are only empty when we’re talking about education and investing in human capital in the United States: education, healthcare, housing, and investing in the middle class. All of a sudden, you know, there’s nothing left. All of the sudden, the wealthiest nation in the world, we’re just totally scarce. We have complete scarcity when it comes to the things that are most important. And so for me, I think it belies a lack of moral priority and it’s unfortunate.”
Notice how she completely fails to address the question, preferring instead to bring up tired, overwrought falsities about “unlimited wars” and “complete scarcity.” I don’t envy the mugging reality will give Ms. Ocasio-Cortez if she wins her election.
The hyperbole Ms. Ocasio-Cortez employs points to a fundamental truth. Socialism is what happens when those who have given up on God seek to solve the problem of poverty. They turn to the most powerful deity they still believe in – the federal government. Socialism is also a form of moral laziness: if the almighty government will provide, private people don’t need to take initiative and offer charity toward “the least of these.”
Beyond the revealed moral bankruptcy of socialism, however, socialists like Ms. Ocasio-Cortez are consistently less than forthright about how they will pay for their massive government programs. This is objectively a problem for the socialist agenda, and even some on the left are beginning to realize it. Take, for instance, a left-wing publication like Vox running an article estimating the cost of instituting socialism – based on numbers from left-leaning organizations – at $42.5 trillion over its first decade. Paying for socialism would require slashing defense spending down to 2% of GDP (the same level as most European nations) and raising federal taxes to astronomical levels.
Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s answer to this conundrum is to propose, in jumbled and near-incoherent fashion, that the current federal funding arrangement be obliterated entirely to make way for a bright new socialist dawn. Goodbye, tax cuts! So long, military might! Instead, we’ll have government-provided services as far as the eye can see. Never mind how we'll pay for them, because that’s just the proper “moral priority."
It’s glaringly obvious that socialism is financially ruinous. I have to believe, then, that even the socialists know their agenda will cost more than they can muster. One must then wonder why they persist.
My best guess? If they’re young socialists, they probably lack a basic understanding of economics, labor markets, and policymaking in general. They also likely have minimal sympathy for the average American. See, for instance, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s faceplant a few weeks ago on Firing Line, or her embarrassingly out-of-touch statement today about soccer moms.
If the socialists in question do understand economics, then I expect they’re actually pushing their ridiculous proposals as a way of destabilizing our current economic and governmental institutions – which is the ultimate goal of any socialist program. Socialists believe they have to start society over, and thus they must destroy everything.
Socialism and its devotees pose an existential threat to America as we know it. Thank goodness that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is an anomaly, and most avowed socialists (like failed Michigan gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed) still seem to be losing their bids for office.
For decades, conservatives have struggled to overcome the supposed moral high ground that socialists claim by labeling things people want as “rights” and painting conservatives as evil monsters who want to take them away. Sadly, responding entirely with reason and facts to such nonsense won’t win the day. If it did, all conservatives would have to do is point to the modern-day socialist utopia of Venezuela.
But conservatives can win hearts and minds at the same time by appealing to the insane cost of socialism. It is an undisputed fact that instituting a socialist agenda in America will require burdensome taxes on everyone, replacing the freedom to spend your money how you choose with forced reliance on inevitably broken big-government welfare programs.
Every American will be hurt by socialism. We cannot allow its proponents to take power.