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:
Read on...Support us and go ad-free
— 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 screenshotSupport us and go ad-free
We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support
The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.
The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.
So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.