August 22, 2018
Democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Monday lamented the closing of the Manhattan restaurant she worked at as a bartender before running for Congress. However, there is an ironic twist: The bar is closing largely due to liberal policies Ocasio-Cortez advocates.
The Coffee Shop, a Union Square staple for the last 28 years, permanently closed its doors Monday. In a posting on Twitter, Ocasio-Cortez commemorated the time she spent there.
"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," she said. "I’m a normal, working person who chose to run for office, because I believe we can have a better future. You can do it too. We all can."
The Coffee Shop co-owner Charles Milite revealed to the New York Post in July his shop was ceasing operations, forcing him to lay off his entire staff of 150, due to state-mandated minimum wage increases and skyrocketing rent prices.
"The times have changed in our industry. The rents are very high and now the minimum wage is going up and we have a huge number of employees," he told the Post.
Increasing the minimum wage to a "living wage" is a central campaign issue for Ocasio-Cortez. In fact, she not only believes the federal mimimum wage should be at least $15 per hour, but she advocates for a "federal jobs guarantee."
Her campaign website states: "A Federal Jobs Guarantee would create a baseline standard for employment that includes a $15 minimum wage (pegged to inflation), full healthcare, and child and sick leave for all."
Since winning her primary election in June, Ocasio-Cortez has defended her support of raising the minimum wage despite the drastic effects it has on businesses.