Socialism Promises “Freebies” and Instills Economic Ignorance
After being elected, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stated that she wouldn’t be able to afford rent in Washington, D.C. until her “government salary kicked in.” Does she realize her government salary is just a sugar-coated name for taxpayer dollars? Programs Ocasio-Cortez has advocated for are taxpayer-funded programs like “Medicare For All,” free college tuition, and free housing for the poor. After winning in her district and promising to hand out these “freebie” programs, one wonders if she realizes that these freebies are at the cost of others who work hard and pay taxes.
The problem with her myriad of “free” giveaways is it’s unbelievably naïve and empirically falsifiable to think the federal government is more cost-efficient than the free market. The first rule of economic thinking is that “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Choices have costs.
Economics helps us understand that it is entrepreneurs, inventors and new ideas propelled by ordinary people that power an economy. She should have learned that at BU.
If you want to see young, successful people who are making a real difference, look at someone who started his or her own business, got his or her foot in the door at a prestigious company or worked for what they achieved.
Most people don’t want to be stuck in a $15-an-hour, guaranteed government job because it stunts their long-term opportunities. The private sector incentivizes hard work and lessons learned, and it pays better than any government position.
Unfortunately, the world view espoused by Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) paints the economy as a zero-sum equation unless the government directs the choices. Their proposals call for showering benefits on certain groups and paying for it by taking money from the wealthy. If millionaires and corporations are losing, then surely welfare recipients will be winning, their logic holds.
That’s not how the global economy works. The free market is the world’s largest and most successful poverty alleviation program. Market investment and entrepreneurship far outperform government investment, and the resulting surges in economic activity benefits everyone, particularly the poorest.
There’s also an inadvertently tragic ramification of today’s trendy Democratic Socialist ideas. If you actually added $40 trillion to the U.S. national debt, as Ocasio-Cortez has proposed, it would be younger people and future generations that have to bear the astronomical tax burden when the bills come due.
The proliferation of these ill-conceived economic ideas over the past few years speaks to the lack of economic literacy in our education system.
Innovation, entrepreneurship and new ideas build the economy and generate wealth. Government jobs don’t. If Democratic Socialist Ocasio-Cortez convinces Americans that the taxpayer-funded government programs like the ones she proposes will grow the economy, then we have bigger problems. Yes, Ocasio-Cortez, Washington D.C. rent is expensive, but so is your salary and your freebie programs!