Debunking Four Crazy Cortez Ideas

Authored by: Matt Palumbo

The new Democratic-Socialist darling Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called out CRTV’s Allie Stuckley earlier this week for a satirical video Stuckley released mocking Cortez. The video featured Stuckley “interviewing” Cortez, except Cortez’s “replies” were clips taken from a disastrous PBS interview she gave. Under the impression that the obviously-satirical video was somehow a “hit piece,” Cortez responded “Republicans are so scared of me that they’re faking videos and presenting them as real on Facebook because they can’t deal with reality anymore.”

Well, that’s certainly an ironic statement if I’ve ever seen one. It’s understandable why Cortez thinks a casual observer could’ve mistaken Stuckley’s satirical video as legitimate – because Cortez’s views truly are indistinguishable from parody.

And on that note, let’s give Red Cortez’s craziest ideas and comments a look.

What’s an Unemployment Rate?

Despite boasting an economics degree, it’s no wonder she was never employed in the field. In the aforementioned PBS interview that Stuckley quoted from, Cortez told host Margaret Hoover that the only reason the unemployment rate is so low in the Trump economy is because everyone is working too hard.  “Well, I think the numbers you just talked about is part of the problem, right?” Cortez said. “We look at these figures and we say, ‘Oh, unemployment is low, everything is fine, right?’ Unemployment is low because everyone has two jobs,” she continued. “Unemployment is low because people are working 60, 70, 80 hours a week and can barely feed their family.”

To quote GEICO; that’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works.

A person’s employment status is binary – they’re either employed or they aren’t. Having multiple jobs doesn’t have any effect on the unemployment rate, because the “employed” person’s status remains “employed” when they take another job. I’m unsure how Cortez thinks the unemployment rate is calculated, but she must think it has to do with the ratio of unfilled jobs to the percentage of total jobs, while in reality it’s the number of unemployed divided by the total size of the labor force.

And speaking of people working two jobs, the percentage of Americans in that situation is the lowest its ever been.

Whites (5%) and blacks (5.3%) were the most likely to hold 2+ jobs, while Asians (3.2%) and Hispanics (3.4%) were the least likely. Half of multiple job holders work one full time job and a second part time job, while 35% had two part-time jobs.  The latter appear to be trying to piece together a full time job. Another 13% were described as having their hours vary on the primary or secondary job in the Bureau of Labor statistics.

A Federal Jobs Guarantee 

To combat the non-existent unemployment problem, Cortez proposed a federal jobs guarantee as part of her platform. The concept is relatively straightforward – if anyone is out of a job in the private (i.e. real) economy, the government will find a government job for them. What could possibly go wrong?

A lot.

For one, while liberals may view a federal jobs guarantee as a safety net for when private sector employees become unemployed, in reality it would contribute to a ever-expanding federal workforce. Given that federal employees rarely quit, and almost never get fired, we’d be employing everyone at the Hotel California before we know it.

This would further contribute to the program’s own sustainability. Who in their right mind would work in the private sector, when they can work in the public sector, work less, and have almost no risk of being fired? As a result, we’d see a smaller private labor force, which means less tax revenue for the government, while a larger government workforce means more revenue will be needed. Hello deficits.

The biggest problem however, is that it puts the government in charge of allocating labor. What kind of jobs will the government create for people? Will they require training? Will there be any safeguards against workers who don’t do anything? Spoiler alert to that last question: there won’t be.

As insane as such an idea is, House Democrats did introduce a federal jobs guarantee bill this week, which should serve as a reminder to vote in the midterms.

Assault Weapons Ban

This too is part of Cortez’s platform, and it’s relatively easy to debunk, given that Bill Clinton put an assault weapons ban into effect. Since roughly 300 people are killed each year by all rifles (regular + “assault” rifles), it seems like an odd way to combat gun violence (but then again, liberals only really try to campaign against “scary” guns).

The Department of Justice studied the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban, and concluded that “We cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation’s recent drop in gun violence.” While there was an overall drop in gun violence during the 90s, all crime was declining (and gun ownership was increasing). Plus, assault weapons are a small fraction of all firearms, so it would be silly to attribute their ban to a decline in violence.

Or, as the DOJ puts it, “Should it [the Assault Weapons Ban] be renewed, the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.” It’s ironic that it’s liberals who often call for the government to fund more research on gun violence and gun control, and yet when they do, the results seldom confirm their bias.

Housing (or Anything, Really) as a Human Right

Cortez’s platform calls for “housing (not sheltering) the homeless,” with zero actual solution on how to achieve that. I mention that, because liberals love to talk about things that people have a “right” to, but they really mean a “right to something for free.” And for that, you need some sort of enforcement mechanism.

To give just one example, a right to housing is written into Section 26 of South Africa’s Constitution, and yet the nation faces chronic housing shortages. Nearly a fifth of their entire population (12 million people) lacks adequate housing. Is it really a surprise that calling something a right didn’t lead to everyone magically having a house?

Think about it – isn’t housing already a human right? Isn’t healthcare a human right? Isn’t education? Of course they are – just as everyone has a “right” to own a gun. The difference is that conservatives don’t think that means the government should purchase everyone a firearm.

Conclusion

It’s undeniable that Cortez’s platform appears compassionate to the casual observer. Conservatives attacking Cortez on the basis that she “thinks people have a right to education and healthcare” are setting themselves up for mockery. Rather than attack Cortez’s ideas “on paper” (the only place they sound good), we should focus on showcasing the impracticality of how she (or anyone) wants to implement such ideas.

Now, who thinks this article could use a part two?

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