By now you’ve no doubt heard the good news from all your blue-pilled left-wing friends: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Our Lady of Democratic Socialism, has defeated 10-term incumbent Representative Joe Crowley in the Democratic primary for New York’s 14th congressional district.
In all fairness, Ocasio-Cortez’s primary victory is something to write home about: 28-year-old who was tending bar months ago defeats 10-term incumbent who out-raised her 10 to 1. To be sure, there is still the actual election, but that pits the progressive rising star against Republican candidate Anthony Pappas in a solidly Democratic district.
On the issues, Ocasio-Cortez burnishes her credentials as a Democratic Socialist who served as a campaign organizer for Bernie Sanders: Medicare For All, a federal jobs guarantee, higher education for all, 100% renewable energy by 2035, “Immigration Justice/Abolish ICE,” and a free air-castle with pet unicorn. (Okay, perhaps not that last one).
As this column has documented before, this is an unrealistic bag of goodies. The U.S. is already facing an unsustainable situation where Social Security, largest of the entitlements, is concerned: already accounting for $1 trillion in spending, Social Security is projected to get pricier as the Baby Boomers retire, until costs outpace income by 2030.
She is selling adult voters the political equivalent of an air-castle with pet unicorn
The big picture could be fairly described as gruesome: across-the-board benefit cuts of 25% staring in 2034, and a cash-flow deficit over the next 80 years projected to hit $44.2 trillion (that’s an average of $552.5 billion per year). In that same year of 2034, by the way, the national debt is projected to hit $39.1 trillion, which will be 105% of GDP.
That is only one government program, albeit the largest.
Based on these figures for Social Security alone, Medicare For All would be an air-castle. However, even as it stands now Medicare is in deep trouble: facing insolvency in less than 15 years, Medicare will begin to run annual deficits optimistically projected to top $200 billion. That figure is optimistic, because Medicare is already facing a growing problem of physicians refusing to take Medicare patients because of low reimbursement rates, patient privacy issues, and government involvement.
Medicaid, by the way, is in even worse shape, straining state budgets even as its low reimbursement rates leave many who are eligible stranded without a doctor.
As John Q. Publius capably observes:
Since the mid-1960s, we’ve spent $22 trillion—trillion—dollars on over eighty different welfare programs, and this does not include Social Security, Medicare, or unemployment. The costs are simply staggering, and all of that spending has done nothing to alleviate poverty in this country; in fact, it’s exacerbated it.
So, Medicare For All is an air-castle. We could end the argument right here: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is peddling a fantasy revolution. She is selling adult voters the political equivalent of an air-castle with pet unicorn.
The real solution to the problem of ruinously expensive healthcare is to switch from an over-reliance on insurance to a market-based approach. This is a model with long-standing historical precedent on its side, not to mention contemporary applications which have been called the “future of healthcare.”
Of course, this solution is bad news for governments and special interests, and is not likely to win many elections.
So much for Medicare For All. What about the next tier of Ocasio-Cortez’s air-castle, the next promise of her fantasy revolution?
Her position here, from her campaign website, is worth reading in full:
“Alexandria endorses a Federal Jobs Guarantee, because anyone who is willing and able to work shouldn’t struggle to find employment.
“A Federal Jobs Guarantee would create a baseline standard for employment that includes a $15 minimum wage (pegged to inflation), full healthcare, and child and sick leave for all. This proposal would dramatically upgrade the quality of employment in the United States, by providing training and experience to workers while bringing much-needed public services to our communities in areas such as parks service, childcare and environmental conservation.
“Furthermore, a federal jobs guarantee program would establish a floor for wages and benefits for the nation’s workforce. This program would provide a baseline minimum wage of $15 an hour and guarantee for public workers a basic benefits package, including healthcare and childcare. By investing in our own workforce, we can lift thousands of American families out of poverty.”
Allow me to play the part of the curmudgeonly conservative and ask, What about people who cannot earn $15.00/hour?
If you’ve read your Thomas Sowell and other conservative commentators, if you have prioritized rational thought over emotion and feelings of self-righteousness, then you know the truth about the minimum wage: it creates a disincentive for employment, meaning job losses and more workers out of work; in short, minimum wage laws price people out of work.
As usual, liberal “compassion” is long on feeling and short on any consideration of the practical realities and incentives relevant to a situation.
It is perhaps not too difficult to decipher the logic of Ocasio-Cortez’s Fantasy Revolution; and logic there is, albeit of a twisted sort. In fact, a fawning tribute-piece from premier Cathedral outlet CNN’s offers plenty of clues.
Let’s put on our Reactionary Vision Goggles of Cynicism for a moment, and try to sort through all of the Fantasy Revolution dog-whistles and terminology, shall we? This should be a fun exercise in How to Read a Newspaper. We’ll be looking for progressive stack points, essentially reading it to see what is going to appeal to a progressive.
“Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez [Hispanic name: points!], a 28-year-old [she’s young and woke: more points!] Latina [Womxn of Color!] running her first campaign, ousted 10-term incumbent [old fogey Establishment Democrat—minus points] Rep. Joe [male—minus points!] Crowley [this name sounds White—boo!] in New York's 14th congressional district on Tuesday, CNN projects, in the most shocking upset [shockingly fun!] of a rollicking political season.
“An activist [so woke!] and member of the Democratic Socialists of America [she’s like a female Bernie!], Ocasio-Cortez won over voters in the minority-majority district [fewer White people!] with a ruthlessly efficient grassroots [yayyy, people power!] bid, even as Crowley -- the fourth-ranking Democrat [she defeated a really high-ranking White man!] in the House -- outraised her by a 10-to-1 [a high-ranking White man with a lot of money] margin...
“She cast her victory [yaayyy, victory!] as the green shoots of triumph [new growth, Womxn of Color over White men!] over the "deep midnight and darkness" [this means President Orange-Hitler Blumpf] of the political moment [still too many White men in power] -- and a message to fellow progressive organizers [fellow Awesome People] that their brand of activism [fight for righteousness] could succeed on a grander scale [handouts for everyone in all 50 states, yayy!].”
Pat Buchanan called it rightly: Ocasio-Cortez ran on her identity, a clear sign that the Democratic Party is turning in the direction of the radical left, the “Maxine Waters wing.” No party for old White men, indeed.
Is this a harbinger of a coming Fantasy Revolution that will sweep across America, bringing a torrent of high taxes and lavish handouts?
Buchanan does not think so. He points to historical precedent, specifically Hubert Humphrey’s narrow defeat in 1968, after which the Left seized control and backed McGovern, who lost to Nixon in a 49-state route. He also argues that fissures and conflicts within the Democratic Party are splitting its diversity coalition elements.
There is already some evidence in favor of Buchanan’s thesis that the Democrats’ Fantasy Revolution is hurting them.
A recent poll found that Democrats have lost nine percentage points of support among millennials since 2016. The shift is most pronounced among White millennial men: in 2016, they favored Democrats over Republicans by 12 percentage points, but now favor Republicans over Democrats by 11 percentage points. (Yes, that is a volte-face amounting to a 23-percentage-point difference).
Another encouraging sign is the #WalkAway movement, a social media campaign fueled by stories of people who have chosen to “walk away” from the Democratic Party. Given how obsessed the Democrats have become with identity, it is surely worth noting that the founder of the grassroots initiative, Brandon Straka, is an openly gay New York-based hair stylist and a hitherto lifelong Democrat.
Writing for PJ Media, Roger L. Simon diagnoses the nervous breakdown of the Left’s Trump Derangement Syndrome as the mere presenting complaint, the symptom that appears to be the problem while the real problem is something else.
In this case, the real problem is that the Left have become irrelevant. They have no good, fresh ideas, only the after-image of socialism and the whole messy business of identity politics. The ongoing meltdown says far more about the mental state of the Left than it does about the character or quality of the administration they rail against. It may even indicate that the Leftists have a death wish.
Having been denied their rightful destiny in 2016, it does seem to be the case that many on the Left are doubling down on the foolish and unsustainable ideas of Bernie Sanders and the far-left Fantasy Revolution he represents. Many hope for a Blue Wave, but the prospects of this, too, are questionable. If denied a Blue Wave, perhaps they will be left to double down on their failed, dying ideas in the enclaves they still control quite solidly.
The far left lost their bid for power, first to Hillary Clinton and then to Donald Trump. But the spirit of the Fantasy Revolution lives on, the tireless, endless desire of the Left for ever more resources to redistribute to themselves and their fellows, heedless of the consequences and the unintended outcomes.
It is a destructive fantasy, to be sure: these air-castles have been known to crush people when they fall to earth.
But, for the Left, why let a little unpleasant reality get in the way?