AOC Thinks Concentrated Wealth Is Incompatible With Democracy. So Did Our Founders.


No Paine, no gain. Photo: White House Collection; US House of Representatives; National Portrait Gallery

On Wednesday night, Sean Hannity took de Tocqueville to task. In the Fox News’ host’s telling, general economic equality is not a precondition for the American dream, but rather, an insurmountable obstacle to it — because the American dream is (apparently) to earn more than $10 million year without having to pay a top marginal tax rate higher than 37 percent.

After popularizing the idea of a 70 percent top marginal tax rate earlier this month, the freshman congresswoman recently suggested that the mere existence of billionaires was both immoral, and a threat to American democracy. “I do think that a system that allows billionaires to exist when there are parts of Alabama where people are still getting ringworm because they don’t have access to public health is wrong,” Ocasio-Cortez told the writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, during an interview on Martin Luther King Day… and argued that the purpose of high taxes on the wealthy wasn’t merely to generate revenue, but rather, to safeguard “democracy against oligarchy.”

In reality, there’s nothing foreign or communistic about the idea that concentrated wealth is incompatible with democracy, or all-too compatible with mass poverty. Republicans might call such notions radical. But many of our republic’s founders would have called them common sense. MORE

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The Green New Deal Rises Again

It was a good idea that didn’t catch on in 2007. Now we’re running out of time.


A technician monitoring turbines at a wind farm in Glenrock, Wy.CreditCreditDamon Winter/The New York Times

There is no agreed-upon policy road map for a Green New Deal. But as one of the leading climate bloggers, Joe Romm, recently pointed out, “Since the midterms, dozens of U.S. representatives and at least four Democratic senators have pledged support to create a Select Committee to create legislation for a Green New Deal.

The goal is a ‘detailed national, industrial, economic mobilization plan’ to rapidly transition the country away from fossil fuels and toward clean energy, such as a solar, wind, and electric cars.”

The Green New Deal that Ocasio-Cortez has laid out aspires to power the U.S. economy with 100 percent renewable energy within 12 years and calls for “a job guarantee program to assure a living wage job to every person who wants one,” “basic income programs” and “universal health care,” financed, at least in part, by higher taxes on the wealthy. MORE