Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the democratic socialist running for Congress in New York, was stumped Sunday when CNN's Jake Tapper, host of "State of the Union," grilled her on how she plans to finance her socialist agenda.
Ocasio-Cortez advocates for universal health care, housing as a federal right, a federal jobs guarantee, tuition-free public college, the cancellation of all student loan debt, among other controversial policies.
As Tapper noted, the left-leaning Tax Policy Center estimated that it would cost more than $40 trillion over the next 10 years to finance Ocasio-Cortez's platform.
"You recently said in an interview increasing taxes on the very wealthy, plus an increased corporate tax rate would make $2 trillion over the next 10 years. Where is the other $38 trillion going to come from?" Tapper asked.
Instead of directly responding to the question, Ocasio-Cortez alleged Medicare for all "would save the American people a very large amount of money."
"What we see as well is that these systems are not just pie in the sky," she said. "We need to realize that these investments are better and they are good for our future."
Tapper shot back: "Right. I get that. But the price tag for everything that you laid out in your campaign is $40 trillion over the next 10 years. I understand that Medicare for all would cost more to some wealthier people and to the government and to taxpayers, while also reducing individual health care expenditures. But I am talking about the overall package. You say it’s not pie in the sky but it’s $40 trillion is quite a bit of money. And the taxes that you talked about raising to pay for this, to pay for your agenda, only count for two. We’re going by left-leaning analysts."
Ocasio-Cortez again dodged the question. Here's her full response:
Right. When you look again at how our health care works, currently we pay — much of these costs go into the private sector. So, what we see, for example, is, you know, a year ago I was working downtown in a restaurant. I went around and I asked how many of you folks have health insurance? Not a single person did. They’re paying — they would have had to pay $200 a month for a payment for insurance that had an $8,000 deductible. What these represent are lower cost overall for these programs. Additionally, what this is, it’s a broader agenda. We do know and acknowledge that there are political realities. They don’t always happen with just a wave of a wand but we can work to make these things happen. In fact, when you look at the economic activity that it spurs — for example, if you look at my generation, millennials, the amount of economic activity that we do not engage in. The fact that we delay purchasing homes, that we don’t participate in the economy as purchasing cars as fully as fully as possible is a cost. It is an externality, if you will, of unprecedented amount of student loan debt.
Tapper finally had enough.
"I am assuming I won’t get an answer for the other $38 trillion. We’ll have you back and go over that," he said, concluding the interview.