General

The Red Menace

You’d imagine I’m going to be discussing the return of Darth Maul from Star Wars, and for the new threat that has sprung from relative anonymity, you’d be forgiven for thinking so. Except that I’m referring to the Red Dawn that has befallen Congress. 

The new representative of New York’s 14th district, at 29 years old, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is the youngest women ever elected to the House. 

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Eighteenth months ago, she was working as a waitress, and beat her big spending – 15:1 – opponent in the race to the House of Representatives. NBC News reported Cortez earned support from 78 per cent of voters. 

Miss Cortez identifies problems in American society that need addressing, particularly the need to transition energy dependency, bankrupting medical fees, inequality and access to resources from inflated asset prices.

These are not particularly novel. It’s her panacea solutions by adding greater government intervention to address them at a time when debt is at precipitous levels that smacks of irresponsibility and naivety.

When politics is concerned, the well-intentioned often do more harm than good. Especially when they go in with the bull in the china shop attitude.

Don’t be fooled by her amicable and empathetic appeal – she is a danger to herself, her district and to America

When mainstream policies flop, and we enter periods of crisis as England did with the rise of right-wing nationalism leading to the rise of UKIP and thereafter Brexit. 

People look for scapegoats and fringe solutions. Cortez fills these voids.

It’s like the mob in The Dark Knight turning to The Joker when they were pressed with their backs against the wall and nowhere to turn.

As Alfred sagaciously admonished Bruce Wayne for pressing on the jugular, “And in their desperation, they turned to a man they didn’t fully understand.”

Statism – Policies so good, they must be mandatory

Miss Cortez believes there is no problem a government programme can’t solve. Got healthcare issues? Medicare for all. 

Want college? Free tuition 

Global Warming? Try her “green-infrastructure” programme. 

Need a job? How does job guarantee become you? 

You may be wondering how she is intending on affording all these policies. Fear not! She has just the solution up her sleeve. 

Tax the rich – Squeeze them until the pips squeak!

A Green New Deal with measures such as 70% income taxes on the super-rich. 

It may only apply to those with more than $10 million a year in earnings, so most people would naturally be for it. Who needs that kind of money, right? 

Trouble is, many of these individuals already pay their share of taxes on their incomes, and this proposal would make New York’s high earners pay an effective rate of 85%. For those who are creating the companies and jobs that employee much of the country’s private sector employees, it rather smacks of biting the hand that feeds you. Not to mention this bracket of individuals already pays the lion’s share of the overall tax revenues.

It overlooks well established concepts of brain-drains, incentives to earn and work harder if you can keep more of your spoils, and the fact that much of the income and wealth is within companies that lobby the government for tax breaks and engage in clever accounting practices to boot.

This comes as rather puzzling from an economics student from the University of Boston.

As for the sober observers, an array of shaking head, disbelief or disdain, but many would rightly be concerned.

For those who call it “crazy”, “delusional” or state “it will never pass”, only need look to the pages of history to see how quickly order can descend into chaos. Crazy schemes have an uncanny old way of becoming le cri du jour.

When existing laws of the land oversee bankruptcy and chaos, people turn to more absurd ideas. 

The first New Deal passed when Franklin Delano Roosevelt offered a campaign for change in 1932’s elections. A reshuffling of the deck carries metaphor of resetting the playing field for your average Joe to get back on their feet after the Great Depression. An  enticing proposal for the desperation imbued in American at the time.

He pulled the aces out in set in motion a series of costly programmes. 

While Cortez’ programmes may seem loopy today in the shining bastion of the free world, when the next crisis hits, people will suddenly perk up and take notice. 

Financial disaster will see discredited Republicans replaced by radical Democrats elected to office throughout the states. 

It won’t matter that economists point out the dangers of 70% marginal rates on the rich will backfire spectacularly. Producing less income, not more for everybody. 

The masses won’t care as they turn out in their droves, eager to punish the rich, not just exploit them. 

The masses will want simple quick-fire solutions. Where Donald Trump promised the American people easily digestible, punchy slogans from his political speech writers in ‘drain the swamp’, ‘MAGA’ ‘crooked Hillary or little Marco’; Cortez has her versions of socialist rhetoric to hand too. 

From what I’ve seen Miss Cortez was a competent bartender. 

Too bad, America’s lost a capable waitress and gained another delusional, incompetent, and menacing member of Congress. 

What the other side says

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez represents a powerful, driven woman as a figurehead to drive female representation in politics and push back the crony corporatism that wraps its ugly head around the annals of power. The disdain endemic in the incumbent political realm has outraged and dispirited in equal measure millions of Americans. ACO represents a glimmer of hope for these people. For those who said she edged in her wins fail to suitably credit her. It is not just her mixed-race, working-class background or the trials and tribulations she has had to overcome along the way.

The steamroller victories on her journey into Congress have inspired many, endorsing her as a role model for accomplishing that which thought impossible.

And she breaths a new breath of life into those disenfranchised, those forgotten, those who suffer from underinsurance, underbanked or overlooked in favour of outsourcing. The dark underbelly of the American dream that fails so many.  

Richard Bolton
Richard Bolton was born in the UK and is a Manchester University PPE graduate. He is an insurance broker / wealth manager. Areas of intrigue include global political affairs, culture and nascent technologies. In his spare time, Richard is a keen sportsman and speculator in new business ventures.

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