As my colleague Jeff Charles, wrote recently, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is somehow an elected member of Congress, encouraged Americans to boycott their jobs so that they can avoid “70-hour weeks” and not feel any job security.
“When we talk about this idea of reopening society you know, only in America —does the president — when the president tweets about liberation — does he mean go back to work,” said AOC. “When we have this discussion about going back or reopening, I think a lot people should just say no — we’re not going back to that.”
“We’re not going back to working 70-hour weeks just so that we can put food on the table and not even feel any sort of semblance of security in our lives,” she added.
AOC says people should refuse to go back to work.
Not because of COVID-19.
Because… well, listen to it yourself.pic.twitter.com/aQjTDYma9v
— Liz Wheeler (@Liz_Wheeler) April 22, 2020
She said this for two reasons. For one, AOC suffers from an acute case of TDS like most Democrats, and with President Donald Trump proclaiming restrictions should be lifted so that Americans can “liberate” themselves from government policies (inject that libertarian phrase from the leader of the free world into my veins), AOC’s immediate reaction was to, of course, take the opposite tack.
Secondly, AOC is an avowed socialist. For her, the idea of Americans removing themselves from under the thumb of government is horrifying. She wants people to not return to their jobs because she wants the government to see to their needs. She wants this because, as she’s proven time and again, Miss Economics Degree doesn’t seem to know how the economy works.
The economy can be a giant rabbit hole of stats, facts, methods, and vernacular that makes the Dune universe look like a rousing read of “the cat sat on a mat.” At 36, I’ve just begun diving in earnest into the stock market and it’s given me a deeper understanding of how market forces work despite the fact that it makes my head spin.
Regardless, the basic principles of how the economy runs are pretty easy to understand. People work at a business, they make money, they use that money to purchase products, the businesses who sell the products make more products to meet demand, they hire more people to make their products, those people make money, too, that money is then used to buy more products, the business hires more people to meet demand, etc, etc, etc.
It’s a big giant back-scratching circle.
When people like AOC talk about the economy, they paint a picture of a soulless machine that uses the blood, sweat, and tears of the people chained to it to grease the wheels of commerce. That’s definitely one way to look at it, but it’s a very pessimistic view and frankly, an incomplete one.
Blood, sweat, and tears, are very present but without people putting all three into their work, we wouldn’t have the first-world cushion of a lifestyle we have without it. That iPhone that AOC likes to preach at us through wouldn’t have been invented in a country that follows the principles she espouses. Stalin’s Russia could hardly grow food much less advanced technology that could create a live audio/video feed through an interconnected information system that contains the width and breadth of all human knowledge. They could hardly get what technology they had to work as it is.
My favorite peek into this was during the amazing series “Chernobyl” in a scene where Soviet coal miners were telling jokes.
“What’s as big as a house, burns 20 gallons of fuel every hour, puts out a shitload of smoke and noise, and cuts an apple into three pieces? A soviet machine made to cut apples into four pieces.”
The technologies we love, that have given our lives unbelievable luxuries the world has ever seen before yet we find so common, are all the result of free thinkers introducing their ideas into free markets. We continue to enjoy many of them because people work to put them out into the market to make money. Nike and Apple’s practices in China notwithstanding.
AOC is only half right. The economy does require work. Oftentimes it requires hard work. Sometimes it’s not safe both physically and in terms of job security. Markets change as new technologies emerge and supply and demand can change with the wind. Where she gets it wrong, however, is what she thinks the economy is.
The economy is people. Supply and demand aren’t determined by alien, invisible forces. Supply and demand are determined by what people want or can buy and sell. The economy is a mass of people making individual decisions all at once, and once more, having the capability to make these decisions.
What AOC is doing is encouraging people to take their own decision-making power away from themselves and hand it to, essentially, her. She who is in the government where she wants the decisions made for you. This never works. Economies that are handed over to the government operate at sorry states or completely crash. Either way, if AOC is running the economy, she’s running you, and you should run you.
People thrive when the economy thrives because the economy and the people are one and the same. That graph you see of the market’s ups and downs isn’t just a series of numbers, it’s our collective heartbeat. When people say they want to get the economy back on track, they mean the well being and health of the people. The economy is our vehicle to not only comfort and wealth but health as well. When our economy thrives, our medical system does too. New technologies are developed that improve treatments and life expectancy. In a world where AOC runs the economy, medical systems stagnate at a certain level and healthcare has to be rationed.
You should liberate yourself from her as Trump suggested and make the economy great again.