Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Democratic Socialist running for New York's 14th Congressional District, was short on facts and heavy on rhetoric recently when questioned how she plans to finance her socialist utopia.
What happened this time?
The questioning came during an appearance on "Pod Save America," a podcast hosted by former Obama administration officials. From the beginning, it was clear the 28-year-old activist has no idea how socialism would realistically operate in the U.S.
Ocasio-Cortez's answer boiled down to this: She claimed that politicians find money to support their policies all the time, citing defense spending and tax cuts, but alleged their pockets suddenly become empty when "investing in human capital."
"You know they say, ‘How are you going to pay for it?’ as though they haven’t used these same ways to pay for unlimited wars, to pay for trillion dollar tax cuts and tax cut extensions. They use these mechanisms to pay for these things all the time," Ocasio-Cortez said.
"They only want to know — it just seems like their pockets are only empty when we’re talking about education and investing in human capital in the United States: education, health care, housing, and investing in the middle class," she explained.
"All of a sudden, there’s nothing left. All of a sudden, the wealthiest nation in the world, we’re just totally scarce. We have complete scarcity when it comes to the things that are the most important," she continued.
Ocasio-Cortez railed against the Democratic Party mainstream, criticizing them for "buying into conservative talking points" and "misunderstanding of politics as this flat two-dimensional left/right thing."
However, she never explained how she plans to fund socialism.
What are the facts?
Perhaps Ocasio-Cortez's long-winded answer devoid of fact is evidence that the reality of socialism is a burden Americans can't stomach.
According to a report posted Tuesday on left-leaning Vox.com by the conservative Manhattan Institute's Brian Riedl, the cost of socialist policies being touted by leading Democrats — which includes single-payer health care, a universal income, and free college — the "democratic-socialist" platform would cost taxpayers a whopping $42.5 trillion over the next decade.
That figure includes only the cost of the new policies. It is not representative of the U.S. budget with the policies included, which would be much higher. To put that in perspective, according to the Vox post, the U.S. Treasury estimates it will generate $44 trillion in total revenue over the next decade.
Over 30 years, the cost would be a staggering $218 trillion.
The report compiled both nonpartisan and left-leaning data sources to generate its estimates.
According to the report, paying for such a system would require doubling tax revenues, which means doubling the tax burden on Americans and employers. Even that would work only if health care were run completely by the federal government, defense spending was slashed to just 2 percent of GDP, and the Democrats' dream of a jobs guarantee cut anti-poverty spending.
But wait — it gets worse. The study said to make the policy proposals mathematically work with current government programs like Social Security and Medicaid, you would need to increases taxes an additional 15 percent just to finance those programs.
The report painted a grim picture:
Mix and match these tax policies and it still represents an unfathomable and impossible tax burden. American taxes would be higher than most of Europe because its spending levels would also be higher. (Our health care system would still cost more, and Europe does not have an expensive government job guarantee.)
Taxing the rich is not enough. America would need to match, or even surpass, Europe’s enormous tax burden on the middle class. There is no evidence that American voters will accept this level of taxation.