Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: How can we afford my proposals? 'I find the question so puzzling...'

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez gave an interview to Jorge Ramos last Thursday in which she was asked how she would pay for her agenda. Ocasio-Cortez didn’t even try to explain how she would pay for Medicare for all or free college tuition, she just said people would pay.

“In a modern, moral and wealthy society, no person should be too poor to live,” Ocasio-Cortez said when asked to define her Democratic Socialism. “We should treat healthcare, housing, and education as rights,” she said, adding, “I believe we should guarantee a basic level of human dignity in America.”

Jorge Ramos then asked specifically about several of her proposals. “Medicare for all, is it too expensive?” Ramos asked.

“No, people often say, like, how are you going to pay for it and I find the question so puzzling because ‘How do you pay for something that’s more affordable? How do you pay for cheaper rent?’ You just pay for it. We’re paying more now.”

This is a common claim made by supporters of Medicare for All, i.e. that it would be cheaper than our current health care costs. This claim got a big boost this summer when a paper published by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University included a version of Bernie Sanders’ plan which showed it would save $2 trillion if adopted. Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez were two of the socialists pushing this claim. But the author of the paper says the whole point was that Sanders’ assumptions about the cuts to providers are a fantasy that is unlikely to happen anytime soon. If you don’t assume those cuts then Sanders’ Medicare for All plan actually costs about $32 trillion dollars over 10 years. Every fact-checker that looked at the claims agreed that the conclusions of the paper were being misrepresented. I guess Ocasio-Cortez didn’t get the message.

Jorge Ramos next question is how the U.S. will pay for free college tuition. Here again, Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t have much of an answer. “We already pay for tuition-free K thru 12 and in the same way that we made a decision as a country to say ‘We need to educate people to a 12th grade level,’ our economy has evolved and that means we need to make the decision to educate people to a trade school or collegiate level,” she said. Again, the question wasn’t why should we do it, it was how can we afford it. Ocasio-Cortez just says we can do it if we want to. I guess that’s true if people are willing to see their taxes go up dramatically.

When she first struggled with this how-to-pay-for-it question months ago, I wondered if she would ever come up with a competent answer. Months later, it’s clear the answer is no. She’s given up trying. To be fair, this is pretty much what socialists everywhere do. This is the game they play, offering lots of freebies without really making clear who will pay or how much it will really cost.

If you want to see the full interview, it’s here. It ends with Ocasio-Cortez saying she also wants to impeach Trump. The section below is Ocaios-Cortez answering the two questions about funding her priorities.

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Jazz Shaw 5:01 PM on March 22, 2023