Friday, January 25, 2019
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the the right superhero at the right time. The millionaire & billionaire supervillains of the world have met their match.
Above: Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez has the millionaire & billionaire supervillains of the world running scared. Supergirl emblem & outfit used here for educational, non-commercial purposes.
The super-wealthy elite at the World Economic Forum in Davos--people who spend their lives hoarding wealth, and then attend this yearly carnival-for-the-rich to assuage what little bit of guilt they feel--are terrified that their taxes might go up if Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) gets her way (see, e.g., "The super rich at Davos are scared of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's proposal to hike taxes on the wealthy," CNBC, January 22, 2019).
Of course, the rich--as well as their middle & lower income bodyguards--will tell us that taxing the rich will hurt workers and economic growth. This is ridiculous, because economic growth was much stronger when taxes were higher on the rich (top marginal, capital gains, estate, and corporate taxes). From 1933-1980, when New Deal taxation was still dominant, economic growth reached 5% or more 22 times. From 1981 to the present, i.e., since trickle-down economics has taken over, it has exceeded 5% just once (data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, see my blog post here). And yet still the rich and their bodyguards have the gall to tell us that things are so much better since their wealth-hoarding has been allowed to go unchecked. Do you believe their horse crap? Are you going to make them happy and eat it?
As far as workers are concerned, they too were much better off when taxes were higher on the rich. America's middle-class was much more vibrant from 1933-1980 than it is today (see, e.g., "For most U.S. workers, real wages have barely budged in decades," Pew Research Center, August 7, 2018). Our wages were better, our retirements were better, our infrastructure was better, and our mental health was better (see, e.g., "Suicide rates rise sharply across the United States, new report shows," Washington Post, June 7, 2018).
AOC is changing the national discussion. People are beginning to understand that taxing the rich--instead of kissing their feet and changing their diapers--is the better way to go. Elizabeth Warren, who's been fighting this fight longer than AOC, has now proposed a 2-3% yearly tax on the assets of the super-wealthy. This is exactly what we need (among other things). The Forbes 400, for example, are now worth a record-breaking $2.9 trillion. They've accumulated this obscene wealth while the rest of us have experienced a decaying quality of life - our children are drinking lead from old pipes & plumbing; we're dying deaths of despair more often; our health insurance is a confusing amalgam of wickedness; and our life expectancy is dropping.
Trickle-down economics is the problem, not the solution. Politicians like AOC, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren understand this; as do many (but unfortunately not all) of the working class Americans who have witnessed the collapse of the American Dream.
Yes, AOC is the right superhero at the right time.