By Monica Showalter
If you need any proof about how little Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez knows about economics, take a look at who she cited as her maven in arguing for a four-day work week, always looking out for that “unwilling to work” constituency:
According to Fox News:
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., who holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Boston University, had to correct herself Saturday evening after mixing up two “very different” economists during a lengthy Instagram discussion.
“UGGGH TYPO,” the freshman congresswoman wrote after confusing John Maynard Keynes, an early 20th-century British economist who theorized that government spending was linked to economic growth, with Milton Friedman, a free-market American economist and 1976 Nobel Prize winner, according to The Washington Examiner.Ocasio-Cortez mistakenly combined their names into “Milton Keynes.”
“I was just reading today about how in 1930, famed economist Milton Keynes predicted that by 2030 GDP and technology would have advanced so much that it would allow everyday people to work as little as FIFTEEN HOURS a week and provide for their families,” Ocasio-Cortez said while discussing the benefits of a four-day workweek with her Instagram followers.
Which is not the kind of “typo” you make when you’re an economics major and cite economists with household names. It’s the kind of mistake you make when you’re “unwilling to work.” And surprise surprise, she’d like us all to work like she does, and cut it to four days a week.
Maybe it’s just a confederation of stupidities, but it’s weird stuff because it’s also the name of a top-100 city in the United Kingdom.
It almost looks like a Freudian slip. Power Line’s John Hinderaker points out that the city’s name was in the news recently because it’s being used as a quarantine center for British citizens who’ve been exposed to the coronavirus. Maybe that was what was on her mind, it’s possible, but color me dubious she actually reads up on such measures abroad.
It’s also a city that’s pretty close to Oxford, a university town that’s full of far-leftists of the Jeremy Corbyn stripe. Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire, a British county that abuts Oxfordshire and is driving distance to the university, making it home to more than a few lefty Oxford professors, although the county has conservative members of parliament. The only reason I know this is that I remember that from having gone to Oxford as a student for a year. Could Ocasio-Cortez have a link to that socialist bunch? Maybe. I’m keeping my antennae up on that one.
A third possibility is that Milton Keynes is a state-planned community, not as bad as some of them, but it’s not utterly farfetched to think she might have heard of and admired the place for that.
Except that she’s really, really lazy, same as Bernie Sanders, who got booted from his hippie commune in he 1970s for sheer sloth. That makes that last possibility a pretty unlikely one. She does, after all, not just chase business out of her district to keep the locals on the dole, her green new deal actually champions those who are “unwilling to work.”
It’s obvious she was one of those when she somehow scarfed up that economics degree from Boston University, whose economics program was last ranked by U.S. News & World Report at a respectable but not “tippy top” as she says, #23 in the nation.
Freudian slip or not, Ocasio-Cortez has shown a consistent ignorance of economics that’s well worse than even the average non-economics major.
John Hinderaker over at Power Line points out that even her knowledge of Keynes is a disaster – citing Keynes, perhaps she didn’t realize that Keynes was abig fan of income inequality.
Here is a credible economist’s assessment of her from last year, and it’s devastating. In “The Economic Illiteracy of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,” published in Quillette, Jonathan Church writes:
First, her Green New Deal, which appears to be inspired by the highly-risky, nonsensical ideas of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT, which I have written about here). Instead of focusing on entitlement reform and addressing the demographics and rising health care costs which lie at the root of America’s looming debt crisis, the Green New Deal would “spend the U.S. into oblivion,” likely beyond anything that could have been imagined when President Reagan’s critics blamed his supply-side fiscal policies for increasing America’s debt load (as a percentage of GDP) during the 1980s.
Second, she demonstrated her F-grade economic literacy when tweeting about tax incentives and her opposition to Amazon’s attempt to establish offices in Long Island City. She subsequently claimed, “If we’re willing to give away $3 billion for this deal, we could invest those $3 billion in our district ourselves if we wanted to,” as if the $3 billion were a giveaway from funds already available in the tax coffers, rather than “$3 billion that would go back in tax incentives…only after we were getting the jobs and getting the revenue,” as New York City mayor Bill de Blasio (and fellow progressive) explained during an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press.
Third, in one high-profile PBS interview last year, she claimed that unemployment in America “is low because everyone has two jobs” and “people are working 60, 70, 80 hours a week.” She was subsequently chastened by Politifact, which pointed out that “[f]ewer than one in 20 employed Americans holds a second job of any type, and the people who might be working as much as 70 or 80 hours a week represent a tiny fraction of that tiny fraction.” Moreover, “[w]hen…[the government] determines the unemployment rate, a person is counted as employed as long as they have at least one job” (i.e. the U.S. government does not double-count jobs when people with multiple jobs report being employed).
It’s not just that she often gets facts wrong, or that her pie-in-the-sky idealism convinces her to take seriously MMT’s cavalier attitude about budget deficits. These can be expected from a political neophyte, and perhaps even forgiven. More astonishing is that her views garner so much attention on matters of economic significance despite how transparently her remarks make her sound as if she’s never taken an economics course.
It all raises questions about just how she got that Boston University economics degree at all. To date, she only made errors in her economics talk, and hasn’t said anything to date to suggest she has the slightest understanding of economics. The economics she cites are pure barstool regurgitations. We know now why she never landed an economics job after college – imagine someone this ignorant in a job interview for an economist position — not just at a Wall Street firm or academia, but even at some Sorosian NGO. It wouldn’t happen. Ocasio-Cortez’s knowledge is actually less than zero.
In a ridiculous defense of Ocasio-Cortez’s academic prowess published bySnopes, the apologist cites Ocasio-Cortez’s academic award, which was a Latino-based award. Could that be the indicator of how she got through college? It sounds like maybe she played the affirmative action rackets, not just to get the undeserved economics award but possibly to get the grades to pass college.
It goes to show that she’s not utterly without merit though: The one contribution to economics she has made is in that soft spot she has for those “unwilling to work.” Perhaps that was the basis of her economic credential then. Maybe Milton Keynes can give it to her.