On ABC’s “The View” Tuesday morning, when prospective 2020 presidential candidate Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) was asked by co-host Meghan McCain about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s suggestion that America incorporate a 60-70% tax rate on the wealthy, she responded that “challenging the status quo” the way Ocasio-Cortez did was “fantastic.”
I wanted to ask you: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the new darling of the party; she officially has more Twitter followers that Nancy Pelosi; she was on “60 Minutes” this weekend proudly calling herself a radical, and she’s promoting policies like saying that every single carbon emission in the country, every car, should be eliminated in the next eleven years; everything from a 70 to 80% tax rate. Do you agree that she could possibly, in this ideology of the socialist left, could splinter your party?
Harris, accommodating the hard-left positions of the socialists of her party, answered:
No, you know, I think that she is challenging the status quo; I think that’s fantastic. (applause and cheering) That, you know, I used to teach before, especially before in the last few years. And the thing that I always loved about teaching was when you teach, it requires you to defend the premise and it requires you to reexamine the premise and question, is it still relevant? Is it, is it, does it have impact? Does it have meaning? And I think that she is introducing bold ideas that should be discussed. And I think it’s good for the party and frankly I think it’s good for the country. Let’s look at the bold ideas, and I’m eager that we have those discussions and when we are able to defend the status quo then do it, and if there’s not merit to that then let’s explore new ideas.
But as former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who served in that post between 1987-2006, explained on CNBC’s “ Squawk on the Street” on Monday, referring to raising tax rates to 70%, “If you’re willing to take a significant drop in economic activity, I would suggest that. … Maybe I better make myself clear. I think it would be a terrible mistake.”
Harris has taken leftist positions before; she supported an illegal immigrant’s bid for a law license as well as submitted a brief in the Supreme Court supporting public universities considering race in admissions. She has supported Medicare-for-all and released a plan by which public colleges and universities would be free for students whose families make less than $140,000 a year.
But Harris is going to be careful not to offend supporters of Ocasio-Cortez; Harris has been derided by some leftists as not fully committed to their principles. As McClatchy wrote in August 2017, “ … some left-wing leaders and think-piece writers spent the summer dissecting the California senator’s record — often harshly. Even a social-media meme took aim, questioning Harris’ tenure as attorney general and derisively referring to her as a ‘centrist corncob.’”