Socialist Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) simply despises people who succeed. Her philosophy appears predicated on President Obama’s infamous statement deriding successful business owners: You didn’t build that business. No, to the socialist, the successful businessman is not the backbone of the American economy, rather, he is the entity that keeps down the poor in America. Accordingly, the remedy to society's problems is to punish those who succeed.
While many seek to create more equality by lifting up the lower classes, AOC wants to level the field by chopping off the heads up the upper crust so that everyone lives in an egalitarian culture of poverty. Even Marx’s equality objectives could not disguise the fact that there would always be at least two classes. There would be the masses, constituting ninety percent of the population, living one uniform lifestyle, while the elites who run the government would have the perks and power that have always existed in a ruling class.
Of course, it is fair to say that among the masses in Venezuela and North Korea there is more income equality. Unfortunately, they are all equally poor. There’s far less income equality in South Korea, but one doesn’t even have to ask on which side of the 38th parallel you'd prefer to live.
AOC, Bernie Sanders, and their crew fail to understand that the ultimate goal should not be equality, but rather, a better quality of life for all.
Who cares if the folks on the upper levels are making bigger bucks if those in the middle in the lower classes are seeing major gains in their lifestyles as well? AOC sees the economy as a finite pie. If one person gets a bigger slice, it means someone else’s gets a smaller one. But free enterprise allows for the pie to always be growing, enabling everyone to attain a bigger, albeit a different size, slice.
That is exactly what happened in almost every instance where American presidents cut taxes and gave more money back to the people. It was true in the 1960s when President Kennedy implement an across-the-board tax cut. AOC boasts about wanting to bring back the 70 percent tax rates that existed prior to the Kennedy cuts, but it was the poor and working classes that benefit tremendously by the 5 percent annual growth that the tax cuts ushered in.
And we are seeing the same impact today after the tax cuts of 2017. Unemployment is down to historically low levels, while wages for the working class are rising at the highest level since the advent of the Great Recession.
Perhaps the ideal test case was the tax cuts delivered by President Reagan, who was derided by the media and the hard left as a friend of the rich. Indeed, his tax plan benefited those on top. But they didn’t just stash the money under the mattress; they invested it — promoting businesses to boom and wages for the working and middle classes to increase markedly.
What AOC does not understand is that punishing those she hates on the upper economic strata will wind up hurting those on the lower level she is trying to help. Take, for instance, the infamous Yacht Tax of the 1980s. There was a deep resentment of those high earning, selfish, materialistic showoff yuppies — the kind made famous in the 1987 movie, "Wall Street."
Let’s go after these guys, said the hard left. So they persuaded Congress to penalize these self-indulgent swine by taxing them on purchases of their recreational yachts. “That will knock them down a few pegs,” they thought. What they didn’t realize was that the high rollers would simply redirect their money to other recreational outlets where a tax was not yet confiscatory. Meanwhile, boat companies went into the tank, hurting primarily the working and middle class laborers on the assembly line. The fallout was so severe that Congress was forced to reverse this idiotic tax and get these people back to work.
I write this not out of a fawning over the upper crust. I shared a revulsion for the antics employed by many of the yuppie snot noses. But rather than taxing them into oblivion, my remedy was to avoid associating with them. I realized that the taxing tactic would wind up backfiring on people I cared most about.
AOC could also have learned an important lesson had she been able to sit in with me in Democratic state assembly caucuses when I served in that body. It was interesting to see how my socialist leaning colleagues — who enjoyed bashing the rich — nevertheless privately prayed that the bonuses to the Wall Street traders they publicly denounced would come in big. They knew that a huge percentage of the state treasury emanated from taxes that were paid on income from those in the financial sector. Thus, a bad year on Wall Street meant smaller bonuses for the traders and far less money coming into the state coffers. A good year meant a flush treasury and funding available for the not-for-profit and government programs designed to help the poor and working class.
The message to AOC is: Be careful what you wish for; you just may get it. And you will find that you wound up hurting those you sought to help.
Steve Levy, former New York state assemblyman, Suffolk County executive, and candidate for governor, is now a distinguished political pundit. Levy's commentary has been published in such media outlets as Washington Times, Washington Examiner, New York Post, Albany Times, Long Island Business News, and City & State Magazine. He hosted “The Steve Levy Radio Show" on Long Island News Radio, and is a frequent guest on high profile television and radio outlets. Few on the political scene possess Levy’s diverse background. He’s been both a legislator and executive, and served on both the state and local levels — as both a Democrat and Republican. Levy published Bias in the Media, an analysis of his own experience, after switching parties, with the media's leftward slant. Levy is currently Executive Director of the Center for Cost Effective Government, a fiscally conservative think tank. He is also President of Common Sense Strategies, a political consulting firm. To learn more about his past work and upcoming appearances, visit www.stevelevy.info. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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