Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who along with fellow democratic socialist Bernie Sanders believes that the key to America’s future is to provide free universal healthcare, free college, free Pre-K, free public transportation, free kites, and free everything else, said this week that she was sick of her critics accusing her of wanting to give everyone “free stuff.”
Yeah. We don’t know where anyone got that idea, Alex.
“Public education, libraries, & infrastructure policies (which we’ve had before in America and elsewhere in the world!) are not ‘free stuff,’” she tweeted. “They are PUBLIC GOODS. And they are worth investing in, protecting, & advancing for all society and future generations. Sincerely, NY-14.”
At a town hall to promote her Green New Deal, Ocasio-Cortez hit the same theme.
“People like to say, ‘Oh, this is about free stuff.’ This is not about free stuff,” she said. “I never want to hear the word, or the term, ‘free stuff,’ ever again.”
The problem, of course, is not that Ocasio-Cortez and her ultra-left comrades have come up with ingenious ways to give away some of the most expensive goods and services in the nation. If that was the case, we’d be all for it. Who doesn’t love free stuff?
But that’s just the thing. AOC and Sanders are peddling this “free stuff” to a generation of kids whose work experience comes from bagging groceries and working at Starbucks (if that). They don’t have any particular concept of paying taxes. They don’t have any particular concept of anything. So when an aspirational politician comes along to tell them, “Oh, we can have it so much better, and the billionaires will pay for it,” it’s all too tempting to believe it.
There is no logical sense to re-classifying a university education as a “public good,” the way you might classify roads and bridges. No one can exclude any taxpayer from driving over a road, nor can an American realistically avoid using the roads. The same cannot be said of higher education, healthcare, or any of these other services that AOC and Sanders want to throw into the “public good” basket. They don’t fit.
But worst of all, of course, is the fact that none of this “stuff” will be “free” at all. And the tab won’t be paid in full by the ultra-rich, no matter how much the Democrats might like you to believe it. It will affect nearly everyone who brings home a paycheck. That might not include the college kids who love these socialists, but it will affect all the rest of us. Their parents, for instance.
As an economics major, AOC should understand all of this. That she doesn’t is either willful blindness or a condemnation of her education. Neither will improve by making this stuff free.