Appearing on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” new congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez displayed her formidable knowledge of everything from environmental issues to economics, bloviating that she envisioned an America 12 years from now that didn’t use any fossil fuels at all and championing a tax rate for the wealthy that could go as high as 60 to 70%.
Interviewed by Anderson Cooper, part of the interview went like this:
Cooper: You’re talking about zero carbon emissions, no use of fossil fuels within 12 years
Ocasio-Cortez: That is the goal; it’s ambitious.
Cooper: How is that possible? You’re talking about everybody having to drive an electric car?
Ocasio-Cortez: It’s going to require a lot of rapid change that we don’t even conceive as possible right now. … What is the problem with trying to push our technological capacities to the furthest extent possible?
Cooper: This would require raising taxes.
Ocasio-Cortez : There’s an element where, yeah, people are gonna have to start paying their fair share in taxes.
Cooper: Do you have a specific on the tax rate?
Ocasio-Cortez: Y’know, you look at our tax rates back in the '60s, and when you have a progressive tax rate system, your tax rate, y’know, from zero to $75,000, may have been 10% or 15 % etc., but once you get to, like, the tippy-top, on your ten-millionth dollar, sometimes you see tax rates as high as 60 or 70%; that doesn’t mean that all ten millions dollars are taxed at an extremely high rate, but as you climb up this ladder, you should be contributing more.
Cooper: What you are talking about, just big picture, is a radical agenda compared to the way politics is done right now.
Ocasio-Cortez : I think that it only has ever been radicals who that have changed this country. Abraham Lincoln made the radical decision to sign the emancipation proclamation; Franklin Delano Roosevelt made the radical decision to embark on establishing programs like social security. That is radical.
Cooper: Do you call yourself a radical?
Ocasio-Cortez : Yeah, you know if that’s what radical means, call me a radical.
A few words may be in order here: Ocasio-Cortez's attack on fossil fuels ignores the fact that they are a vital part of a variety of daily life beyond driving one’s car. Synthetic fibers that come from fossil fuels are responsible for the majority of global fiber production. In 2014, synthetic fibers accounted for 67.5% of global textile production; cotton, which comprises roughly 28% of textile fiber consumption, depends on aid from fossil fuels; plastics are manufactured from fossil fuels, and the agricultural industry is heavily dependent on fossil fuels to grow and harvest crops.
Vis-à-vis tax rates, a paper published by Karel Mertens of Cornell University, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, studied tax cuts in the U.S. between 1950-2010 and found that cutting tax rates for the top 1% of earners raised everyone else’s income.
Higher tax rates discourage innovation; a 2018 paper published by the Bureau of Economic research stated: “A one percentage point increase in either the median or top marginal tax rate is associated with approximately a 4% decline in patents, citations, and inventors, and a close to 5% decline in the number of superstar inventors in the state ... case studies provide particularly clear visual evidence of a strong negative relationship between taxes and innovation. When combined with the macro state-level regressions, the instrumental variable approach and the border county analysis, the results overall bolster the conclusion that taxes were significantly negatively related to innovation outcomes at the state level."
As noted by Investopedia:
Consumer spending typically equals two-thirds of GNP. As you would expect, lowering taxes raises disposable income, allowing the consumer to spend additional sums, thereby, increasing GNP. … Reducing taxes, therefore, pushes out the aggregate demand curve as consumers demand more goods and services with their higher disposable incomes. Supply side tax cuts are aimed to stimulate capital formation. If successful, the cuts will shift both aggregate demand and aggregate supply because the price level for a supply of goods will be reduced, which often leads to an increase in demand for those goods.
Video below of Ocasio-Cortez on "60 Minutes" below:
And here she is dancing: