Democratic Socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is once again taking aim at the country’s rich, saying billionaires only get where they are by exploiting workers and “off the backs of undocumented immigrants,” minorities and single mothers.
“No one ever makes a billion dollars. You take a billion dollars,” Ocasio-Cortez told author Ta-Nehisi Coates at a Martin Luther King Jr. holiday town hall event.
Coates then played the part of a billionaire, asking her to elaborate (video linked at the end of the story).
“I’m Joe Billionaire,” he said. “I made widgets. I sold those widgets. I made billions of dollars … selling those widgets; therefore those billions of dollars are mine. Why am I the enemy of health care?”
“Well, you didn’t make those widgets, did you?” Ocasio-Cortez replied. “You employed thousands of people and paid them less than a living wage to make those widgets for you. You didn’t make those widgets. You sat on a couch while thousands of people were paid modern-day slave wages, and in some cases real modern-day slavery depending on where you are in terms of food production.
“You made that money off the backs of undocumented people. You made that money off the backs of black and brown people being paid under a living wage. You made that money off the backs of single mothers — all of these people who are literally dying because they can’t afford to live. And so no one ever makes a billion dollars, you take a billion dollars.”
The crowd then roared at first with surprise at her comments, and then approval before she went on to say that she wasn’t there to vilify the rich and she doesn’t believe “they are inherently, morally corrupt,” although there is a case that they are.
“If Jeff Bezos wants to be a good person he’d turn Amazon into a worker cooperative, not ‘What do I do with all of this money that I have created with this unjust system?'” she said. “And usually if you’re a billionaire, that means that you control a massive system. It means that you own oil supplies; it means that you control textiles; it means that you have a massive labor force under your control.
“And to be ethical, if you’re a billionaire today, the thing that you need to do is give up control and power. So we don’t want your money as much as we want your power — the people, not me, the people (want your power).”
Freudian slip of the tongue?
“That’s going to get cut and clipped,” she quipped after realizing she had just said the quiet part — “we want your power” — out loud.
AOC says she wants this clip getting out there: pic.twitter.com/qV8sTcxqqM
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) January 20, 2020