After AOC's Latest Hissy Fit About Billionaires, It's Time to Teach Our Erstwhile Bartender Some Economics 101

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Ronald Reagan famously said, “The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they’re ignorant; it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.” How can I put this tactfully — if you look up the Gipper’s quote in the dictionary, you’ll see Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s picture — smugly telling the world that she’s the defining expert on all things that matter.


The one thing that apparently matters to AOC more than anything else — except for her silly Green New Deal, of course — is a billionaire. All billionaires. Every last one of them.

Yes, those wretched ogres that stalk the earth; preying on the innocent; sucking them dry until there’s nothing left to suck out of them — solely for the unconscionable purpose of feeding their own depraved and insatiable greed. Oh, the humanity!

In response to the latest diatribe against billionaires from AOC — Socialist Barbie, as I like to call her — Washington Examiner contributor Brad Polumbo observed, in response to a recent AOC Instagram post.

“AOC has a bachelor’s degree in economics and has spent 2 years in Congress, yet she still doesn’t understand the basic principle that economics is not a zero-sum game.”

Polumbo was correct, but perhaps we should give our erstwhile bartender a break. In a minute, we’re going to teach AOC about the “zero-sum game” she embraces, with a very simple illustration.

In response to one of her Instagram followers about she doesn’t believe billionaires should be allowed to exist, AOC responded:

“The question of billionaires is less about being a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ individual and more about the immorality of a system and economy that not only allows abuse of everyday people, but financially rewards the powerful who profit off not paying workers a living wage, keeping medicine expensive … or otherwise hoarding unthinkable levels of wealth for the very few by denying basic dignities of life for the many.”


Yes, of course. It isn’t the billionaires, per se; it’s the evils of society in which they’re allowed to flourish.

“Billionaires are a symptom of a society that does not afford people basic elements of dignity If people want we can revisit the billionaire question when everyone has healthcare, climate change is addressed, [and] people have actual dignified standards of living.”

Bless her little socialist heart, she truly doesn’t get it. Let’s simplify.

There are two basic economic ideologies if you will. One is embraced by conservatism; the other by liberalism (not to be confused with classical liberalism; I’m talking about today’s Democrat Party.) Let’s do a conservative economic mindset, first. Again, for dummies.

Abundance Mentality

An abundance mindset refers to the belief that abundant opportunity exists for everyone; those who work to achieve it, that is. A “rising tide lifts all boats” set of beliefs. The belief that by growing the pie, everyone who wants pie and is willing to work for has the opportunity to enjoy a larger piece of pie.

On the other side of the proverbial coin, we have the belief — or so Democrats claim, with an eye on the ballot box — that the economy is finite. There’s only so much to go around.

Scarcity Mentality

The scarcity mindset is the belief that there will never be enough if some people take too much. The mindset that the economy is a zero-sum game; the false notion that “the more money evil rich people make, the less there will be for everyone else.”


In it’s simplest form (AOC), it’s the “100 pennies in a dollar” illustration. Democrats believe — or lie to their constituents about — that the economy is a “100-penny dollar,” meaning the more of those pennies “selfishly” hoarded by “billionaires,” the fewer pennies left to pay “working Americans” a “living wage” — instead of focusing on creating more dollars.

I must digress for a minute.

What I just described is exactly the load of crap that Democrats have been peddling to Democrat voters and the less fortunate among us for at least six decades.

They continue to do so because they have convinced lower-income Americans, and to perhaps a lesser extent the middle class, that the Republican Party will screw them every chance they get — or take; that the heartless Republican Party only cares about “Wall Street bankers,” and their billionaire and millionaire “cronies.”

Moreover, the Democrat Party has convinced rank-and-file Democrat voters that while it hasn’t delivered to them everything it has promised, year after year, election cycle after election cycle, for sixty years, to think how bad off they’d be if the compassionate “party of the people” wasn’t around to protect them from evil rich Republicans.

As a result, a large majority of Democrat voters — particularly minorities — line up every election, no questions asked, and dutifully pull the “D” lever, never questioning themselves for doing so.


Anyway, here’s another example of the abundance mentality, via Washington Examiner.

When you voluntarily buy groceries from the local market, you and the store owner are both made better off by the transaction. You get goods that are worth more to you than the money you’re spending on them (or else you wouldn’t make the purchase) and vice versa for the store owner.

So, in pursuing his fortune, a billionaire supermarket chain owner would have to enrich millions of customers by creating opportunities for mutually beneficial transactions. The only way to obtain great wealth without doing this would be to lobby the government for crony regulations or subsidies to get an artificial monopoly (the kind of programs Ocasio-Cortez often supports).

Polumbo pointed out, as did I, that AOC “is engaging in the zero-sum fallacy of poor economic thinking.” Economist and Distinguished Professor of Free Enterprise at Ball State University Steve Horwitz explains it like this.

“The fallacy here is the implicit assumption that there is a fixed pie of wealth and that what market activity does is just allocate that among individuals, households, or nations. ”

It ignores the way in which wealth is created through production and exchange. One of the most fundamental insights of economics is that exchange is mutually beneficial and therefore wealth-creating.”

Finally, a not-so-secret little secret

Aside from harebrained “thinkers” in the Democrat Party like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, I don’t believe for a minute that “mainstream” Democrats like Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Joe Biden, et al., believe the nonsense they peddle to the uninformed among us.


The truth is, they are fully aware that selling fear, class envy, and the rest of the politics of division they peddle, is necessary for their survival as a viable party.

And the worst part of all?

While Democrat want their voters to buy it, they don’t want them to “achieve it.” Think about it. If the “victims” of conservatism were to succeed — en masse — they would no longer need the snake oil salesmen of the Democrat Party to “take care of them.”


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