Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the 28-year-old democratic socialist who won a June primary election and unseated the No. 4 Democrat in the House, has unsurprisingly been the target of insult and attack from the conservative right.
Several days ago, host of conservative talkshow “America Talks Live” John Cardillo took to Twitter to lambast Ocasio-Cortez as a phony.
As the Washington Post pointed out, Cardillo failed to take into consideration “that hard-luck story about almost losing a home to foreclosure after her father died,” that Ocasio-Cortez’ mother was forced to work as a housekeeper, that the 28-year-old needed student loans to get through college — the non-Ivy League Boston University, not Brown.
Columnist Elizabeth Bruenig aptly concluded that the majority of the attacks on the Bronx native are typical of the”ugly paradox that applies only to the left: If you care about material equality and you aren’t destitute, you’re a hypocrite,” she says, but “if you care about material equality and you are destitute, you’re never going to have a real shot at political engagement to begin with.”
This tired conservative talking point is the only platform the right can think to use against Ocasio-Cortez, a liberal, Latina millennial who has completely shaken up the political universe. It is the same platform on which rests the whole of The Daily Caller, a conservative publication founded by Fox News pundit Tucker Carlson.
Thursday afternoon, The Daily Caller posted an op-ed titled “Socialist Darling Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Called For Tax Cuts When She Was Running A Business, Now Wants To Raise Taxes To Fund Her Radical Agenda.” Besides having a terribly tedious headline, the article posits Ocasio-Cortez as a hypocrite who changes political stance out of convenience.
“Ocasio-Cortez’s talk of the values of entrepreneurship, profits and lower taxes in 2012 are antithetical to the values she now espouses as a member of the DSA [Democratic Socialists of America], an organization that marches the streets calling for the abolishment of profit,” wrote Andrew Kerr in the article.
This logic is indicative precisely of the sort of “ugly paradox” mentioned by Breunig; That liberals who support social programs must be destitute and wholly anti-establishment. Of course, many of us know that public services are not at odds with business, but with enormous corporations who get massive tax breaks.
Ocasio-Cortez retweeted The Daily Caller post, adding an educational message in her clap back:
“Surprise! Thank you for this amazing educational opportunity,” she wrote. “You can, in fact, pursue an agenda of healthcare, fair wages, and education while supporting small businesses.”
“Having mega-corporations pay their fair share means you can give small mom & pops a break.”
Many on social media praised Ocasio-Cortez’s ability to turn criticism into a learning opportunity.
According to AmericansForTaxFairness, “corporations are paying a smaller share of federal tax revenue than they did in the 1950s.” Donald Trump’s tax bill dropped the corporate tax rate further from 35% to 21%, a fact which “most economists and market experts agree” will likely benefit company shareholders over anyone else, at least for the next few years.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez believes corporations should be paying more than their fair share in taxes so that the money could be used to boost the federal minimum wage, expand Medicare coverage to include all Americans, and make college free, among other social programs.