Additional Information on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

● In July 2017, Joe Lieberman, the former Democratic senator and vice presidential candidate, wrote the following about Ocasio-Cortez in a Wall Street Journal op-ed:

“Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is a proud member of the Democratic Socialists of America, whose platform, like hers, is more Socialist than Democratic. Her dreams of new federal spending would bankrupt the country or require very large tax increases, including on the working class. Her approach foresees government ownership of many private companies, which would decimate the economy and put millions out of work….

“Ms. Ocasio-Cortez didn’t speak much about foreign policy during the primary, but when she did, it was from the DSA policy book—meaning support for socialist governments, even if they are dictatorial and corrupt (Venezuela), opposition to American leadership in the world, even to alleviate humanitarian disasters (Syria), and reflexive criticism of one of America’s great democratic allies (Israel).”

● As part of her 2018 congressional campaign platform, Ocasio-Cortez argued in favor of raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 per hour, claiming that such a move would not harm businesses economically. When her favorite New York City coffee shop, which employed 150 people, announced in July 2018 that it was closing down after 28 years in business largely because of the burdens of meeting New York’s escalating minimum-wage requirements, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted: “The restaurant I used to work at is closing its doors. I swung by today to say hi one last time, and kid around with friends like old times. I’m a normal, working person who chose to run for office, because I believe we can have a better future.”

● When Ocasio-Cortez referenced Israel’s “occupation of Palestine” during a July 2018 interview with PBS’s Firing Line and was asked to “expand” on her thoughts, she replied, with a laugh: “I am not the expert at geopolitics on this issue. I am a firm believer in finding a two-state solution on this issue, and I’m happy to sit down with leaders on both of these — for me, I just look at things through a human-rights lens, and I may not use the right words. I know this is a very intense issue.”

● In a July 2018 television appearance on The Daily Show, Ocasio-Cortez stated that her big spending agenda could be funded, in part, by cutting back on military expenditures. “Just last year we gave the military a $700 billion dollar budget increase, which they didn’t even ask for,” she said. “They were like, ‘we don’t want another fighter jet. Don’t give us another nuclear bomb.’ They didn’t even ask for it. And we gave it to them.” Politfact subsequently clarified that $700 billion was the total U.S. defense budget for 2018, not the increase, and that the amount was “more than the Defense Department settled in negotiations for Trump’s budget request ($668 billion), but exactly what they requested in their annual wishlist to Congress.”

● In a July 13, 2018 interview with PBS, Ocasio-Cortez said: “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 family.” The Washington Post subsequently reported: “Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that the percentage of people working two jobs has actually declined since the Great Recession — and been relatively steady at around 5 percent since 2010…. The July data shows most of [the] people juggling two jobs — 58 percent — have a primary job and a part-time job. Only 6 percent have two full-time jobs, which calls into question her claim that people are working 60, 70, 80 hours a week.’ Indeed, the average hours worked per week for private employees has remained steady at just under 35 hours for years.”

● In a May 30, 2018 an interview with the podcast Intercepted, Ocasio-Cortez said: “ICE is the only criminal investigative agency, the only enforcement agency in the United States, that has a bed quota. So ICE is required to fill 34,000 beds with detainees every single night and that number has only been increasing since 2009.” The Washington Post subsequently reported: “There is language in the 2016 appropriations bill that requires ICE to have 34,000 beds available … but it is not required to fill them.”

● In an August 7, 2018 interview on Pod Save America, Ocasio-Cortez said: “They [national Democrats] were campaigning most when we had more of an American middle class. This upper-middle class is probably more moderate, but that upper-middle class does not exist anymore in America.” The Washington Post subsequently reported: “[T]he data show that while the middle class overall may have shrunk a bit, the upper-middle class has actually grown. In a 2016 paper published by the Urban Institute, Stephen J. Rose documented that the upper-middle class has grown substantially, from 12.9 percent of the population in 1979 to 29.4 percent in 2014. His analysis showed that there was a massive shift in the center of gravity of the economy, with an increasing share of income going to the upper-middle class and rich.

● In an August 8, 2018 interview on CNN’s Cuomo Prime Time, Ocasio-Cortez said: “In a Koch brothers-funded study … it shows that Medicare for all is actually much more, is actually much cheaper than the current system that we pay right now.” The Washington Post subsequently reported: “Some Democrats have seized on a reference in a study released by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, which receives some funding from the Koch Foundation, that a Medicare-for-all plan advanced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) would reduce the country’s overall level of health expenditures by $2 trillion from 2022 to 2031. That’s because the Sanders plan would slash payments to providers by 40 percent. But the study makes clear that this is an unrealistic assumption and in fact the plan would raise government expenditures by $32.6 trillion over 10 years. Without the provider cuts, the additional federal budget cost would be nearly $40 trillion. So, no matter how you slice it, the study does not say it would be ‘much cheaper’ than the current system.”

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