In a recent interview where she was pressed to explain her socialist views, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the 28-year-old rising star of the Democratic Party and nominee for New York’s 14th Congressional District, seems to suggest that low unemployment is a bad thing.
On the PBS show “Firing Line,” host Margaret Hoover cited the current U.S. unemployment rate of 3.9% and asked, “Do you think that capitalism has failed to deliver for working-class Americans or is no longer the best vehicle for working-class Americans?”
Ocasio-Cortez responded with the following:
“I think the numbers that you just talked about is part of the problem. Because we look at these figures and we say ‘Oh, unemployment is low. Everything is fine,’ right? Well, unemployment is low because everyone has two jobs. Unemployment is low because people are working 60, 70, 80 hours a week and can barely feed their kids.”
First of all, people can barely feed their kids? Data shows that the number of people receiving food stamps is also at a record low. Ocasio-Cortez didn’t mention that in her answer. Either she avoided it or simply did not know the reality of the situation.
But the strangest premise Ocasio-Cortez used in support of her conclusion that the economy is not as good as it appears to be is her assertion that “unemployment is low because everyone has two jobs.” Unfortunately for Ocasio-Cortez, that premise does not make very much sense.
Unemployment tracks the number of people with jobs, not the number of jobs total. It does not matter if people have one or two jobs; if they are employed by at least one company, they are not considered unemployed.
Ocasio-Cortez then unloaded on the concept of capitalism: “I do think right now we have this no-holds-barred, Wild West hyper-capitalism. What that means is profit at any cost. Capitalism has not always existed in the world and will not always exist in the world. When this country started, we were not a capitalist — we did not operate on a capitalist economy.”
This is just false to state that the U.S. did not use a capitalistic system when it was founded.
It is unlikely that Ocasio-Cortez, a woman with a degree in international relations and economics, is intentionally trying to mislead the American people. What is more likely is that she is simply repeating information she has heard in lectures and political conversations on the liberal side.
I’m not sure what is more troubling: the fact that she was “taught” this information in the first place, or the fact that she didn’t bother to ponder it a bit before she spewed it back out.