Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York calls herself a “democratic socialist.” Because of her self-identification, she tends to say some outrageous things about economics and the nature of the capitalist system. Fox Business describes one instance on Martin Luther King’s Birthday when she sat down to a public interview with Ta-Nehisi Coats,
“No one ever makes a billion dollars. You take a billion dollars,” Ocasio-Cortez said, receiving applause. “I’m not here to villainize and to say billionaires are inherently morally corrupt. … It’s to say that this system that we live in, life in capitalism always ends in billionaires.”
AOC’s observation is a long-winded version of the claim made by Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, the 19th Century anarchist and socialist, that “property is theft!” The fiery “democratic socialist” also made a statement that is best derived from the Marxist theory of labor.
“You didn’t make those widgets, did you? Because you employed thousands of people and paid them less than a living wage to make those widgets for you,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “You didn’t make those widgets. You sat on a couch while thousands of people were paid modern-day slave wages and in some cases real modern-day slavery.”
AOC also did Marx one better with references to “black and brown people” and “single mothers” and “undocumented workers.” The man who dreamed up Communism in the British Library never thought of throwing in specific classes of people. For him, the world consisted of primarily the evil capitalist exploiters and the toiling masses.
No one at the public meeting asked AOC questions like, “Who invested the money to build the widget factory?” or “Who makes the decisions about how the widget factory operates, where the widgets are sold, and how the widgets are upgraded from time to time to make sure they are still saleable commodities?” AOC might have been a loss to answer or she might have offered some kind of pablum about how the state would be better equipped to make those decisions. Just like in the old Soviet Union or modern Venezuela.
Truth to tell, the typical American billionaire is not someone lolling on the couch living off of the toiling masses. He (and the occasion she) works like a Trojan, tirelessly growing a business and developing new ones. They do these things to create goods and services that enough people want that they are willing to pay for them, making the said billionaire lots of money.
Examples of modern billionaires include:
Steve Jobs, who created the personal computer revolution in a garage and thus founded Apple Computer. Jobs also created the first smartphone, which millennial AOC likely likes to stare at when she is not preaching revolution.
Bill Gates, who developed an operating system called Windows which runs most personal computers these days. His company, Microsoft, has created more than its share of billionaires. Gates is also one of the world’s leading philanthropists and is engaged in several business ventures such as one to create clean, sage nuclear power.
Jeff Bezos, who created Amazon.com and thus modernized the retail industry. When one wants something, no more do they have to get in a car and go from store to store hunting it down, taking hours. All people have to do is point and click and, in a day or two, the item is delivered to one’s door. If the item is a book, the process takes seconds if one owns a Kindle.
Elon Musk, a refugee from apartheid-era South Africa who made his first pile of money founding several small software companies such as Paypal. He is currently engaged in upending the art of space travel with SpaceX and electric cars with Tesla.
Let us not forget the most famous billionaire of all, Donald Trump, who took a small fortune and made it into a much bigger one in real estate and then reality TV. Then he became president of the United States.
Of course, not all of these billionaires are necessarily upright and moral. But without them, a lot of products people take for granted would not exist.
Let’s face it, though, no billionaire ever imagined bringing the gulag to America or using the guillotine to take care of enemies of the state. Those and other proposals flow from the fevered minds of some of AOC’s fellow Bernie Sanders supporters. Ocasio-Cortez has not condemned any of those people, so far as has been determined. The absence speaks volumes.