- The Washington Times - Monday, March 11, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, speaking to a SXSW crowd, ripped into America — again — and said that while the looming robotic culture and automated economy are things to embrace, the flip side is dire because, after all, this country is a society that simply leaves its jobless “to die.”

Hmm. Wonder where all those millions that taxpayers sent to food stamps and housing assistance and basic living aid went through the years.

Anyway, Ocasio-Cortez said this, when asked about the looming automation craze that is predicted to supplant human jobs, The Verge reported: “We should not be haunted by the specter of being automated out of work. We should be excited by that. But the reason we’re not excited by it is because we live in a society where if you don’t have a job, you are left to die. And that is, at its core, our problem.”

What an interesting theory.

But facts hardly support.

“SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program,” is the nation’s most important anti-hunger program, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities wrote. “In a typical month in 2017, SNAP helped more than 40 million low-income Americans afford a nutritionally adequate diet.”

SNAP provides food for those at or below 130 percent of the poverty level, which in fiscal 2018, comes in around $26,600 per year for a three-person family.

Then there’s this, as Sapling wrote: “The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development provides housing grants to those who have experienced a job loss or a decrease in income. Programs are available to both homeowners and renters who need help with housing. … Several government agencies have provided funding to help distressed homeowners prevent the foreclosures of their homes. The Making Home Affordable Program helps homeowners who have lost their jobs obtain a forbearance on their mortgage payments.”

Food. Housing.

Then there are the federal programs that help with health care and even utilities.

Can you say Medicaid? How about CHIP — the Children’s Health Insurance Program? Or the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, TANF, that actually doles out cash for low-income — read: unemployed — citizens who are trying to get back on their financial feet?

“We should be working [because of automation] the least amount we’ve ever worked, if we were actually paid based on how much wealth we were producing,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “But we’re not. We’re paid on how little we’re desperate enough to accept. And then the rest is skimmed off and given to a billionaire.”

And then the out-of-work are “left to die” by an uncaring, greedy capitalistic culture, she accused.

Well, once again, Ocasio-Cortez has the socialist sound bites — without the facts.

Fact is, America’s capitalistic society is what allows the government to skim so many dollars by way of taxation, to provide so much by way of housing, food, health care and basic living expenses’ aid to those who’ve lost their jobs, to those who are struggling to make ends meet. If it weren’t for capitalism and the free market, there wouldn’t be so much money in America for the poor. 

As the former Prime Minister of England Margaret Thatcher famously said: “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”

The problem with Ocasio-Cortez is she speaks of what she does not know. 

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter, @ckchumley.

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