Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez appeared on The View on Wednesday to discuss Bernie Sanders and her own political ascent.
“I feel like you’re the boogeywoman of the right, and I’m the boogeywoman of the left,” co-host Meghan McCain said before laying out her concerns for the “apocalyptic” and “radical” ideas Sanders has advocated for in his presidential run. McCain described Sanders as promoting the “complete paradigm shift of the American system as we know it.”
Ocasio-Cortez argued that that’s exactly what we need.
“One story that’s not really being told here is what’s actually happening on the ground in America. Do you know what percent of American workers make less than $40,000 a year? Almost 60 percent.”
There was a rumble of audible gasps from the audience.
“You can’t live on that in New York,” said View co-host Joy Behar. “No way.”
“You can’t live on that in New York, you can barely live on that anywhere, [and] you can barely live on that if you have kids,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “I think that that reality, personally, does require a paradigm shift. This isn’t working for us, and a $2.1 trillion tax cut which has been deemed capitalism at its finest, doesn’t work for us. Losing your husband because he couldn’t afford insulin because Big Pharma cares about profits more than people as capitalism at its finest does not work for it though.”
“Bernie has a hard time explaining how he’s going to pay for it though,” McCain said. When Sanders’s plan to cancel student debt and make public colleges tuition-free was mentioned, McCain noted that this plan would cost $2.2 trillion over 10 years.
“It’s funny, because progressive policies are always talked about in 10-year price tags,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “Conservative policies are always talked about in one-year price tags.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s example: massive military budget increases under Donald Trump. While there was a spending bump in the last year of the Obama administration, military spending under Trump has risen astronomically, from $586 billion in 2015 to $716 billion in 2019.
“We don’t ask how [Trump] pays for that,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “When we talk about big government, we don’t talk about big government interjecting themselves into the bodies of women and gender non-conforming people for anti-choice policies.”
View co-host Whoppi Goldberg pressed Ocasio-Cortez on how Sanders plans to pay for his pricy progressive plans. Ocasio-Cortez explained that tuition-free public college could be paid for with a Wall Street transaction tax, and Medicare for All would be funded in part by transitioning to a payroll tax. She went on to cite a new study by researchers from Yale University, the University of Maryland, and the University of Florida that suggests transitioning to a single-payer healthcare system would save the United States $480 billion a year and the average American $2,400 in savings each year.
“I think people like their doctors, I don’t know if people love Blue-Cross Blue Shield,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “I think that when we expand our healthcare system—when we lower the price of prescription drugs, when we guarantee healthcare as a right in the United States of America just as every developed country in the world does—we will be in a better place.”
The rest of the conversation focused on Bernie Bros, Sanders’s medical records, congressional challengers, and whether she believes Michael Bloomberg is trying to buy the election (“Yes,” she said, to Goldberg’s consternation.)