AOC Imagines a World Where Everyone Lives in 'Luxury' Public Housing as a 'Human Right'
At a Bronx town hall on Monday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) put her big government dreams to work and laid out a vision for a new "world" of housing. She said everyone should live in a luxury apartment like she does (with state-of-the-art amenities) provided by non-profits or owned by tenants. She also insisted that the government should "make sure that housing is legislated as a human right."
"What we have been taught that is a luxury should not be a luxury," Ocasio-Cortez declared. "Another world is possible. We can live with either responsible landlords, or we can live in buildings that are not-for-profit, or tenant-owned. There are so many ways that we can slice this and we can structure it in a way where all people have a right to a dignified home and it’s not science fiction and it’s not just for the rich."
"What we have been taught and what we have been conditioned is that basic rights are a luxury when they are not," the self-identified democratic socialist added.
Ocasio-Cortez said she came to this conclusion after visiting an "affordable housing unit" in Queens where "20 to 30 percent of those units were reserved for seniors who were formally homeless." She noted that a non-profit set up these units, and she claimed that the units "look just like my luxury apartment."
The congresswoman suggested that the quality of life in her luxury apartment should be available for everyone.
In the same speech, Ocasio-Cortez suggested this kind of "right" should be legislated. She further insisted that it is a "privilege" to make a "profit" off of renting out your own property.
"What are we doing to make sure that housing is being legislated as a human right? What does that mean? What it means is that our access and our ability and our guarantee to owning a home comes before someone else’s privilege to earn a profit," Ocasio-Cortez declared.
In other words, the government should use the force of law to make sure everyone lives in a luxury apartment just like her, and property rights should be considered a "privilege" to be revoked at the whim of government.
It seems extremely unlikely that the senior housing unit Ocasio-Cortez toured recently is anything like her luxury apartment, however. While the congresswoman puts "luxury" in scare-quotes, suggesting her apartment is normal or regular, she actually does live in an extremely luxurious building.
As The Washington Examiner reported in February, the congresswoman's apartment complex offers 100,000 square feet of amenities for its residents. These include: two private massage rooms with state-of-the-art hydrotherapy beds; men's and women's saunas; a full-scale demonstration kitchen with wood-fired pizza oven; a 25-meter indoor lap pool; a rooftop infinity pool with panoramic views of the Capitol; a Peloton cycling studio with more than a dozen bikes; a fireside lounge featuring a Steinway & Sons player piano; and a PGA-grade golf simulation league with a wrap-around screen and viewing bar that allows residents to play virtually at dozens of the world' most exclusive golf courses with the touch of a button.
Democrats have mocked President Donald Trump for installing a new golf simulator at the White House, even though he used his own money to update one originally installed by former President Barack Obama.
Apartments in Ocasio-Cortez's building ranged from $1,840 per month for a 440-square-foot studio to $5,200 per month for a three-bedroom apartment. The average rent in Washington, D.C. is $1,350 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,570 for a two-bedroom, as of May.
The congresswoman downplayed the very real luxury of her apartment complex, describing it as "an efficient building, it's clean, it has public space, it has a rooftop garden. ... It has clean air. It has clean water."
Yes, it has clean air, clean water, two saunas, a rooftop infinity pool, a luxurious fireside lounge, and a golf simulator that would make President Trump jealous. You know, just the necessities of life. These are "human rights," after all.
Ocasio-Cortez seems oblivious to the fact that her luxurious apartment is only possible in a free market with respect for property rights. It is in the interest of her landlord to buy and maintain state-of-the-art amenities for his tenants because they pay a great deal of money. The very "profit" landlords make incentivizes them to provide housing in the first place.
It is a good thing that non-profit organizations try to provide housing for senior citizens and others. But non-profits and government are not a panacea that can provide state-of-the-art luxury for everyone. Ocasio-Cortez does enjoy a higher quality of life than most Americans. Her "reforms" would make that quality of life harder to achieve for other people — by undercutting the very engine of prosperity she takes for granted.
Follow Tyler O'Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.