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As the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, 29-year old Ocasio-Cortez has generated a large amount of interest after defeating incumbent Joe Crowley in an upset victory during the 2018 midterm elections. In the months since, she has become one of the most influential politicians on some social media platforms.
Here are some of the comments the progressive Democrat has made about economic issues and Wall Street:
Ocasio-Cortez suggested imposing a 70 percent tax rate on those with incomes in excess of $10 million during an interview on “60 Minutes” to pay for a new green energy plan.
The so-called “Green New Deal” would be a massive investment in clean energy infrastructure, aiming to eliminate carbon emissions in a little more than a decade.
The proposal sparked criticism from Joe Lieberman, a former Democrat from Connecticut who became an Independent, who said he hoped Ocasio-Cortez was not the future of the party.
“You’ve got to be careful about raising taxes too high … a 70 percent tax on high-income people is really done for political reasons,” Lieberman said.
During an interview on Monday, Ocasio-Cortez defended the proposal.
She also said climate change is “our World War II.”
The self-described democratic socialist responded affirmatively to a question from a writer on Monday that a world that allows people to become billionaires is not “a moral outcome.”
While noting not all billionaires – like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates – are immoral people, she clarified that a system that allows for the type of income inequality seen in the U.S. is “wrong.”
“I do think a system that allows billionaires to exist when there are parts of Alabama where people are still getting ringworm because they don’t have access to public health is wrong,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
The lawmaker also questioned whether being a billionaire in such a system should be considered aspirational.
Wall Street cons lawmakers
During an interview with In These Times magazine in June, before the election, Ocasio-Cortez criticized members of Congress – including those in her party – for bowing to Wall Street because they don’t “understand how economics works.”
“Democrats don't have a deep understanding of or degrees in economics, they allow Wall Street folks to roll in the door and think that they're giving them an education,” she said, referring specifically to the idea that the government can austerity itself “into prosperity.” "They're not. It's a con, and they're getting conned because they don't understand the transformative power of the purse that Congress has.”
The New York lawmaker has an economics degree from Boston University.
‘Corporate lobbying’ theories
Ocasio-Cortez slammed the orientation held at Harvard for freshman lawmakers this year as a “pro-corporate lobbying project,” lacking labor and grassroots representation.
She said she heard things like the $2 trillion tax cuts were “great” while a $15 minimum wage “is a bad idea,” all the while not knowing which speakers were hired lobbyists.
On a similar note, Ocasio-Cortez, who recently joined the influential House Financial Services Committee, said the panel tended to get attention in the past because legislators slipped “corporate-friendly legislation through.”
She said activism and activists helped change that and get her appointed to the panel, a situation she described as “People vs. Money. We’ve got the people, they’ve got the money.”