Light-on-her-feet Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is OK with laying a heavier tax burden on the rich to save the planet.
The 29-year-old first-term member of Congress, in an interview with “60 Minutes,” proposed a tax rate as high as 70% on the wealthiest Americans to help fund the “Green New Deal” — an ambitious program to fight against climate change.
“I think that it only has ever been radicals that have changed this country,” Ocasio-Cortez says in the piece airing Sunday. “Abraham Lincoln made the radical decision to sign the Emancipation Proclamation. Franklin Delano Roosevelt made the radical decision to embark on establishing programs like Social Security. That is radical.”
Asked if she feels like a radical, the Washington neophyte embraced the label: “You know, if that’s what radical means, call me a radical.”
The “Green New Deal” aims to eliminate carbon emissions within the next 12 years, and Ocasio-Cortez acknowledges success would only follow a difficult and unprecedented effort.
“That is the goal,” explained Ocasio-Cortez, who was sworn into office Thursday. “It’s going to require a lot of rapid change that we don’t even conceive as possible right now.
“What is the problem with trying to push our technological capacities to the furthest extend possible?”
She knows it will require a lot of money, too, and has a plan for generating the funds. The young politician suggested a progressive tax system where the wealthiest Americans would pay to fund the program.
“There’s an element where yeah — people are going to have to start paying their fair share in taxes,” she said. “… Once you get to, like, the tippy-tops, on your 10 millionth dollar, sometimes you see tax rates as high as 60% or 70%.
“That doesn’t mean all $10 million are taxed at an extremely high rate, but it means that as you climb up the ladder, you should be contributing more.”
Ocasio-Cortez also offered a tongue-in-cheek response to internet critics of her dancing back in a video shot while she was a student at Boston University.
She and several classmates made a rooftop video where they all performed to the 2009 song “Lisztomania,” with the whole thing reposted this week by an internet troll.
An 11-second clip posted Friday on her Twitter feed showed a beaming Ocasio twirling into her Ccongressional office to Motown artist Edwin Starr’s 1970 hit “War” — a scathing musical denouncement of the Vietnam War.
“I hear the GOP thinks women dancing are scandalous,” she wrote with the video. “Wait till they find out Congresswomen dance too.”
The youngest woman ever elected to Congress also explained why she opted for red lipstick and gold hoop earrings for her Thursday swearing-in.
“Lip+hoops were inspired by (Supreme Court Justice) Sonia Sotomayor, who was advised to wear neutral-colored nail polish to her confirmation hearings to avoid scrutiny,” Ocasio-Cortez, who was born in the Bronx but raised in Westchester, revealed in a Friday tweet.
“She kept her red. Next time someone tells Bronx girls to take off their hoops, they can just say they’re dressing like a Congresswoman.”
The self-described Democratic Socialist cruised to victory in November after unseating longtime incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley, the No. 4 Democrat in the House.
Ocasio-Cortez’s challenge of Crowley was his first contested primary since 2004, when his opponent was too young to cast a ballot.
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