Why does AOC think working-class taxpayers should foot the price for her?
As a member of Congress, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez makes a whopping $174,000 annually, meaning that she individually earns more than twice the average U.S. household’s income. Despite this, the progressive Democrat believes that working-class taxpayers should be responsible for her school loan burden.
That’s one of the main takeaways from Ocasio-Cortez’s latest speech on the House floor.In her speech, the congresswoman made yet another factually deficient and ethically flawed argument for "student debt cancellation," a leftist euphemism for forcing taxpayers to pay off $1.6 trillion in student loan debt. (The loans aren't miraculously "canceled," but rather paid for by taxpayers.) Debts cannot simply be erased by Congress.)
Let’s stop advancing this narrative that student loan debt is for the privileged.— Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@RepAOC) December 3, 2021
Do we really think a billionaire’s child is taking out student loans?
First-generation college students are twice as likely to report they are behind in making student loan payments. pic.twitter.com/KyGnrJCjNq
This isn't new, since "cancellation" of student debt has been one of Ocasio-pet Cortez's themes from the start of her political career. The fact that Ocasio-Cortez cites herself as an example and expressly asks taxpayers to pay off her debts is a fascinating twist in her speech.
“I’m 32 years old now,” the congresswoman said. “I have over $17,000 in student loan debt, and I didn’t go to graduate school because I knew that getting another degree would drown me in debt that I would never be able to surpass. This is unacceptable.”
I’m sorry, what part of that is unacceptable, exactly?
Ocasio-Cortez’s $17,000 in student loan debt sounds like a lot, but it probably only involves a monthly student loan payment of $100-$200. It’s hard to know exactly what her payment is without being familiar with the specifics of her loans, but $100-$200/month is a reasonable estimate given that the average graduate owes $28,400 total, which equates to a $297 monthly payment.
And, as previously stated, the congresswoman's annual salary is about $175,000! Despite this, she continues to believe that working-class people should be forced to pay her costs. Even more ironic and tone-deaf is Ocasio-subsequent Cortez's lamentation of the (allegedly) "false narrative" that "student loan debt is for the affluent" later in the address.
She called this “narrative” a “ridiculous assertion” and asked, “Do we really think a billionaire’s child is taking out student loans?”
“Come on!” she exclaimed. “If you are taking on student loan debt, it’s because you are likely a middle or working-class person. Let’s get real, let’s cancel it.”
This section of Ocasio-speech Cortez's is factually incorrect and disconnected from reality. Student loan debt is disproportionately held by a well-educated and thus higher-earning segment of the population, not by the children of billionaires, as some have claimed.
This is a reality that competent experts do not dispute.
One study found that “canceling” all student loan debt would give the top 20% of income earners six times more benefit than the bottom 20% of income earners. Even left-leaning think tanks such as the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution have reached similar conclusions.
“Debt forgiveness plans would be regressive — providing the largest monetary benefits to those with the highest incomes,” an Urban Institute analysis concluded .
So, whether Ocasio-Cortez cares to acknowledge it or not, the regressive nature of student debt “cancellation” is simply reality.
The congresswoman's personal narrative, however, shows the hollowness of her speech. From beginning as a bartender to serving in Congress, Ocasio-Cortez has risen through the ranks of America's wealthiest and most famous people. Nonetheless, Ocasio-promises Cortez's to erase student debt would compel workers across the country to pay off her comparatively modest student loan commitments, as well as the debts of many millions of rich, successful individuals like herself.
This isn't just a case of a conflict of interest. It's a woke bubble wrap and progressive platitudes-wrapped bailout for Democratic politicians' rich, well-educated constituents. Americans should look through AOC's promises of aid to the poor and recognize this scheme for what it is.