Self-described “Democratic socialist” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been making the rounds on liberal media ever since her surprising win over top Democratic incumbent Joseph Crowley in New York's 14th congressional district.
Her statements have been repeatedly fact checked by right-leaning news outlets, but now the left-leaning Washington Post is following Politifact to debunk many of her common claims. The Post doesn’t use its standard “Pinocchios” rating scale when doing a round up like this, but it still takes Ocasio-Cortez to task for her claims.
For example, the 28-year-old former bartender claimed on PBS’s “Firing Line” that “Unemployment is low because everyone has two jobs,” and “Unemployment is low because people are working 60, 70, 80 hours a week and can barely feed their family."
The Post’s Glenn Kessler called her first claim “poppycock.”
“First of all, Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that the percentage of people working two jobs has actually declined since the Great Recession – and been relatively steady at around 5 percent since 2010,” Kessler wrote. “The percentage bounced around a bit but it was as low as 4.7 percent in October 2017 and was 5.2 percent in the July jobs report, the most recent available. That hardly adds up to ‘everyone.’”
As to the second part of her claim, Kessler pointed out that 58% of the people working two jobs have a full-time and part-time job and only 6% have two full-time jobs. He wrote this “calls into question her claim that people are working ’60, 70, 80 hours a week.’” The average private employee works 35 hours per week.
Kessler then called Ocasio-Cortez’s claim that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has a quota “to fill 34,000 beds with detainees every single night” an “urban legend.” The 2016 appropriations bill requires ICE to have 34,000 beds available, but is not required to fill them, Kessler wrote.
Ocasio-Cortez recently said that the “upper-middle class does not exist anymore in America.” To this, Kessler wrote that not only does the upper-middle class exist, it has gained ground since 1979, from 12.9% of the population to 29.4% in 2014. He wrote that the middle-class has “shrunk a bit.” This is actually due to upward mobility.
Kessler also had to debunk Ocasio-Cortez’s claim that the Medicare-for-all-plan she and Sen. Bernie Sanders (Socialist-VT) support would reduce healthcare costs over 10 years. Luckily for Kessler, the Post had already given the claim three Pinocchios when another Democratic candidate said it earlier. Basically, Ocasio-Cortez and other Democrats are using an assumption from a study, but the study’s author called it unrealistic, and said the plan would increase government health expenditures by $32.6 trillion over two years.
Finally, Kessler knocked Ocasio-Cortez for claiming, “The reason that the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act is because they ruled that each of these monthly payments that everyday American make is a tax. And so, while it may not seem like we pay that tax on April 15th, we pay it every single month or we do pay at tax season if we don’t buy, you know, these plans off of the exchange.”
Kessler said Ocasio-Cortez did not appear to understand “policy nuances.”
“In the 5-4 opinion written by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., the Affordable Care Act was deemed to be an appropriate exercise of the government’s taxing power,” Kessler wrote. “But Roberts was not referring to the monthly premium payments, as Ocasio-Cortez claims. Instead, Roberts was referring to the individual mandate to buy insurance — and the requirement to pay an annual penalty when filing a tax return if one did not buy health insurance.”
Kessler further noted that the Obama administration claimed the mandate was not a tax while passing the law.
So, for those of you keeping track at home, that’s five false ratings (the two unemployment claims are lumped into one) for Ocasio-Cortez’s most common talking points.