Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Economist (no, really!)
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently won the congressional Democratic primary in a New York City neighborhood and is certain to win election in November. Like Senator Bernie Sanders, she is a proud socialist. People are fascinated that she is willing to admit her ideology. Many would advise her to keep silent about it and let the voters learn the truth the hard way. I am fascinated by the fact that she is an economist.
In 2011, Ocasio-Cortez earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Boston University. This means that she learned about the efficiency of a free market, the damage that too much government spending can cause, and the work disincentive of taxation. With a background like this, one would think she would be eminently qualified to help steer the federal government to a laissez-faire handling of private industry. Some examples of elected officials trained in economics come to mind.
Donald Trump received an economics B.S. from Wharton. As president, he saw too much regulation and excessive taxes. He lowered both and observed a substantially lower unemployment rate.
Ronald Reagan obtained an economics B.A. from Eureka College. As president, he too perceived too much regulation and taxes. He lowered both. The price of gasoline plummeted immediately. Inflation and interest rates diminished. Tax revenues went up. We ended up with the longest peacetime expansion in the nation's history.
Other economists have served in government with refreshing common sense. Former House majority leader Dick Armey is an example. This would make one conclude that Ocasio-Cortez will be perfect in her new job.
Unfortunately, Ocasio-Cortez endorses some pretty wacky ideas. Her campaign website mentions "Medicare For All," "A Federal Jobs Guarantee," and "[Free] Higher Education / Trade School for All," to name a few. This does not sound like someone who studied economics. It is like a mathematician who does not know his times tables. How can there be such a contradiction?
Author Ayn Rand had a famous quote that can be useful here: "Whenever you think you are facing a contradiction, check your premises." Economics seeks to maximize a society's wealth, but this lady who studied it recommends policies that would minimize it. The faulty premise is the assumption that someone who studied economics also seeks to maximize a society's wealth. A socialist may want to study economics to understand how the other side thinks. I suspect that Ocasio-Cortez was a socialist before she was an economics major.
Socialism is a system in which the government owns the means of production and distribution. In other words, the government is the only employer, and it sets all prices. Ocasio-Cortez likes this system, either because she wants to be part of a government that has complete control of the people or because she believes that all citizens including her would be better off. From her economics training, she knows that the latter is false, so the former must be true. She wants to be one of the controllers.
We are not dealing with Karl Marx. We are dealing with Joseph Stalin.