Tax Time! Media Defend Socialist Ocasio-Cortez’s 70% Tax Idea

Posted on Fri 01/11/2019 by

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By Julia A Seymour ~

If there’s one thing liberal media love, it’s the idea of raising taxes on the rich. It’s something they have in common with freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.

As a self-identifying Democratic-Socialist, Ocasio-Cortez has plenty of expensive ideas for the government, including a Green New Deal she suggested paying for with much higher taxes on the wealthiest. A hike on the very richest won’t even come close to paying for the $30 trillion over 10 years it could cost for a Green New Deal, CNBC reported. But that didn’t stop the liberal media from defending or endorsing her desire for tax-hikes.

Bloomberg.com minimized the impact of the proposal claiming it “Isn’t very radical,” rather a “return to the 20th century norm.” New York Times columnist and liberal economist Paul Krugman defended her as knowing “a lot” about tax policy. Vox did much the same saying “some studies indicate she’s aiming too low.”

Ocasio-Cortez told CBS 60 Minutes “People are gonna have to start paying their fair share in taxes,” when asked about funding for a Green New Deal to get the country on 100 percent renewable energy within 12 years. When pressed for specifics she advocated higher taxes, like rates the country had in the 1960s, of 60 to 70 percent on the “tippy-tops.”

“As you climb up this ladder, you should be contributing more,” she insisted. It’s tough to estimate the cost of a Green New Deal since it remains more an idea now than a policy plan, but CNBC reporter Robert Frank found estimates it could cost $30 trillion over the first 10 years.

That’s more than 40 times the revenue that she would raise from the rich tax,” Frank said on Jan. 7.

Krugman cited other left-wing economists’ studies in order to claim the proper highest marginal tax rate should be 73 or even 80 percent.

“So AOC, far from showing her craziness, is fully in line with serious economic research. (I hear that she’s been talking to some very good economists.) Her critics, on the other hand, do indeed have crazy policy ideas — and tax policy is at the heart of the crazy,” Krugman said.

Vox called her idea “pretty much in line with the cutting-edge work of progressive-minded tax economists.”

Keyword — Progressive economists. Not all economists, as Krugman strongly implied.

Krugman wasn’t alone in the media defending AOC’s tax hike idea. Bloomberg opinion columnist Noah Smith also defended her.

He wrote on Jan. 7, “So Ocasio-Cortez’s tax plan isn’t radical at all, and almost certainly won’t damage the economy in any significant way.” He added that it was “hardly outside the economic mainstream,” but did admit “the proposed tax hike by itself wouldn’t raise much revenue.”

That was more than Krugman admitted.

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan told CNBC it would be a “terrible mistake” because it would cause a “significant drop in economic activity.” In another interview, Harvard economist Martin Feldstein called it a “nutty idea.”

Reason also hit back at AOC and Krugman in particular on Jan. 9, noting that the studies cited have ingrained philosophical assumptions in favor of “social welfare.” Economic papers with other philosophical assumptions end up with far different (and lower) “optimal” tax rates.

Julia A. Seymour Contributes posts at the NewsBusters site where she is an Assistant Managing Editor for the Business & Media Institute of the Media Research Center.

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