Ocasio-Cortez Dodges CNN Fastball: How to Pay for $40T Agenda

It was the $40 trillion question.

And once again, Democratic candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez refused to answer it.

Like other Democratic socialists and many progressives, Ocasio-Cortez has a long list of government giveaway programs. But even when confronted with a price tag, wouldn’t say how they’d be paid for (or who would pay).

“Your platform has called for various new programs including Medicare for all, housing as a federal right, federal jobs guarantee, tuition-free public college, cancelling all student loan debt,” said Tapper on Sept. 16, before asking how she would pay for it all.

Those policies would cost upwards of $40 trillion, according to several non-partisan and left-leaning estimates cited by CNN State of the Union anchor Jake Tapper. (And maybe a lot more.)

“You recently said in an interview increasing taxes on the very wealthy plus and increased corporate tax rate would make $2 trillion over the next 10 years, so where is the other $38 trillion gonna come from?” Tapper asked Ocasio-Cortez on Sept. 16.

Rather than answer, she claimed Medicare for all would “save the American people a very large amount of money.” She failed to specify any amount or explain how that would happen.

She continued defending her ideas as “generational investments” and “good for our future,” but without ever explaining where the tens of trillions of dollars would come from — even after Tapper asked a second time.

“I’m talking about the overall package. You say it’s not pie in the sky, but $40 trillion is quite a bit of money and the taxes you’ve talked about raising to pay for this, to pay for your agenda, only count for $2 trillion,” Tapper asked again. (For context, $40 trillion is roughly 10 times the annual federal budget.)

Ocasio-Cortez still refused to answer the question, although she suggested her preferred policies would spur economic activity.

Although she has bragged about her degree in economics, Ocasio-Cortez won’t get specific about the price of her plans.

In August, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo also asked her about costs, specifically of Medicare-for-all, and whether it would come from “my tax money.” That time, instead of saying how it would be paid for she complained about the “sticker shock” of our current health-care system and attacked cost estimates as “Koch-brothers-funded” even though left-wing groups also estimated the cost would be $32 trillion.


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2018 Congressional Economy Budget CNN State of the Union Jake Tapper Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Julia A. Seymour's picture