Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Calls for 70 Percent Top Tax Rate in 'Green New Deal'
In an interview Thursday evening, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) called for a top tax rate of 70 percent, pushing a "Green New Deal" that she admitted is "radical."
"You're talking about zero carbon emissions, no use of fossil fuels within 12 years?" CBS correspondent Anderson Cooper asked Ocasio-Cortez in an interview for 60 Minutes.
"That is the goal," the newly minted Congresswoman admitted, calling her plan "ambitious."
Cooper asked how such a plan could be possible, and Ocasio-Cortez said, "It's going to require a lot of rapid change that we don't even conceive as possible right now."
She admitted that her plan would require raising taxes, something she described as "people are going to have to start paying their fair share."
When asked for a specific tax rate, Ocasio-Cortez named "60 percent or 70 percent" for top earners.
"You know, you look at our tax rates back in the ‘60s, and when you have a progressive tax rate system, your tax rate, you know, let’s say from 0 to $75,000 may be 10 percent or 15 percent, et cetera," she started. "But once you get to like the tippy tops, on your 10 millionth dollar, sometimes you see tax rates as high as 60 or 70 percent."
The self-described democratic socialist insisted that this high tax rate "doesn’t mean all $10 million are taxed at an extremely high rate, but it means that as you climb up this ladder, you should be contributing more."
Such tax rates will likely make Americans eyes pop, but this far-Left congresswoman is merely being true to form. She demands a "Green New Deal," and this kind of tax rate is historically associated with Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal and Lyndon Johnson's Great Society programs.
Many liberals argue that the New Deal got America through or out of the Great Depression. After the 1929 stock market crash, the economy tanked. President Herbert Hoover attempted to launch massive works projects (the Hoover Dam, for instance) in order to restore the economy, but that did not work. Franklin Delano Roosevelt ran for office in 1932, pledging to reverse the government largesse of Hoover, which had not worked to reverse the Depression.
But when Roosevelt took office, he doubled down on Hoover's plan. He created the alphabet soup of government programs to turn around the economy, but his plan failed. The Depression lasted throughout his tenure, and arguably worsened thanks to the New Deal programs. Only after World War II, when soldiers returned to work and when Republicans took Congress and lowered tax rates, did America's economy fully recover.
Ocasio-Cortez could use a history lesson on more than just the effectiveness of the New Deal, however. In admitting to Anderson Cooper that her plan is "radical," the congresswoman insisted that "it only has ever been radicals that have changed this country," referencing Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation.
The Emancipation Proclamation freed not a single slave. It was a war-time measure, intended to foment slave rebellion in areas still held by the Confederacy. The proclamation, issued January 1, 1863, merely declared that all slaves in lands controlled by the Confederacy were free in the eyes of the Union.
Contrary to popular belief, this proclamation did not abolish slavery, a feat accomplished by the 13th Amendment in 1865. Lincoln was far less radical than many think — he saw slavery as a moral evil to be restrained, but insisted that if he could keep the United States together without abolishing slavery, he would gladly do so. Ironically, the southern states were far more radical, demanding the expansion of slavery into the territories — in violation of longstanding compromises — and eventually leaving the Union in protest when a president opposed to the expansion of slavery took office.
Ocasio-Cortez's strategy of empowering the federal government to enforce her radical climate alarmist agenda even extends to altering America's form of government. She has called for a fundamental alteration to the U.S. Supreme Court. Again true to the form of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, she called for packing the Court with liberal justices in order to get her way. She also suggested that America should fight climate change like it fought the Nazis in World War II.
High tax rates and war metaphors may sound good to liberals who think that the oceans are rising (they're not) and that high tax rates won't really hurt them. Confiscatory taxes will damage the economy overall, however, harming the rich, poor, and middle class alike.
Americans should reject Ocasio-Cortez's radical ideas, and remember that her activism increasingly represents a great deal of the Democratic Party.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.