US congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez continues to be a thorn in the side of the establishment, even though she’s only been in the job for 6 months. Over the last few weeks, for example, she’s obliterated the idea that a free market exists in the US; she’s taken aim at social media giants allowing hate to spread on their sites; and she’s argued that the US minimum wage needs to increase.
Ocasio-Cortez attacked the idea of a free market during a congressional hearing. She was questioning a representative of TransDigm, a military contractor, when she revealed the massive amount of money it charges the taxpayer. TransDigm billed the taxpayer $1,443 for a part that costs $32 dollars to make. The company, she said, had gone on to charge $215,007 for 149 of these parts. But the cost price of these same parts would have come to $4,768.
She told the representative:
I could have gotten over 1,500 people insulin for the cost of the margin of your price gouging
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) June 3, 2019
After asking how many other competitors the company has, Ocasio-Cortez took aim at the idea of a free market. She said she doesn’t think most people understand what it means, as “it’s not a free market at all”. Instead, she insisted:
It’s a captive market. It’s one where we’re forced to choose between two to three people. Oftentimes in these processes there is significant argument, and there’s significant evidence, that there’s collusion in these markets; that it’s not a perfectly competitive market, because a perfectly competitive market requires a large amount of competitors.
As a result of the hearing, Ocasio-Cortez and her colleagues were “able to secure $16 million in refunds from TransDigm for egregious price gouging”:
As a result this hearing (chaired by @RoKhanna!), we were able to secure $16 million in refunds from TransDigm for egregious price gouging in military contracts.
For all their talk of “free markets,” CEOs actually work *against* them. They want CAPTIVE markets + monopoly power. https://t.co/jOtKPtRWGv
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 3, 2019
The congresswoman has also taken aim at social media giants. In particular, she’s taken them to task for allowing hate speech to flourish on their platforms. On Twitter, she declared that racism and hate is “rewarded” by social media companies:
The holy grail of many social platforms is “engagement.”
Bigotry + disinformation campaigns are often the most “engaging” (& rewarded) due to their inflammatory nature.
Some, like Pinterest+Reddit, at least TRY to address this.
Others decide profit is worth the social erosion. https://t.co/XLazGlw0nV
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 2, 2019
She also claimed that young people are leaving Facebook because of the “toxicity” that the company allows there:
And she ended by asking if social media companies had actually done anything to address the problem:
Ocasio-Cortez has also called for the government to raise the minimum wage. She proclaimed that:
Any job that pays $2.13 an hour is not a job. It’s indentured servitude.
She was referring to the fact that employers can pay workers who earn tips less than other non-tipped workers. According to federal law, an employer only has to pay a tipped worker a minimum of $2.13 per hour.
— ROC United (@rocunited) May 31, 2019
The congresswoman argued:
the way that we give labour dignity is by paying people the respect and the value that they are worth at minimum.
— TicToc by Bloomberg (@tictoc) May 31, 2019
The kind of politician the world needs
Ocasio-Cortez has only been in office for a short amount of time. But in spite of this, she’s done a lot to show us that she takes her job seriously, and also that she cares about the people who voted for her.
We need more politicians like her — politicians who understand injustice and want to fight it. If we had more like her, perhaps our societies would be more just, fair, and equal.
Featured image via YouTube screenshot
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?