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Pants on Fire: Politifact confirms Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t know how unemployment rate works

Pants on Fire: Politifact confirms Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t know how unemployment rate works

Ocasio-Cortez got just about everything wrong. Wrong facts. Wrong theory. Wrong conclusion. She has a bright future in the Democratic Party.

Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the new face of the progressive base that generates all the excitement in the Democratic Party. Her primary defeat of establishment Democrat Joe Crowley has catapulted Ocasio-Cortez into non-stop adulation from the mainstream media.

Ocasio-Cortez is moving Democrats even further left. Her call to Abolish ICE quickly was picked up by several Democrat presidential contenders.

Ocasio-Cortez is a Socialist, full stop. While she uses the description “Democratic Socialist,” it’s clear that she has disdain for capitalism, as we discussed after her PBS Firing Line interview, Ocasio-Cortez: Capitalism “will not always exist in the world”.

While Ocasio-Cortez’s answer on Israel is making headlines, there is a much more significant admission by Ocasio-Cortez as to the ultimate goal of the Democratic Socialist movement to which she adheres, and now leads.

Ocasio-Cortez was confronted with the current strong economy and low unemployment numbers. After asserting that unemployment is low because people are working two jobs, at 5:30 of the interview, Ocasio-Cortez explained her world view that capitalism was a passing historical phenomenon:

“… I do think that right now, when we have this no-holds-barred Wild West hypercapitalism, what that means is profit at ANY cost. Capitalism has not always existed in the world, and it will not always exist in the world. When this country started, we did not operate on a capitalist economy.”

Is Democratic Socialism as a political movement simply a way to work within the capitalist system, or does it seek to replace capitalism with socialism?

Starting at 8:00 in the interview, Ocasio-Cortez was asked point blank whether Democratic Socialism, the doctrine to which she adheres, seeks an end of capitalism. Ocasio-Cortez acknowledged that whether capitalism could continue under Democratic Socialism was an open question:

Hoover: So in the context of Democratic Socialism, then, do you think it calls for an end to capitalism?

Ocasio-Cortez: Ultimately, we are marching towards progress on this issue. I do think that we are going to see an evolution in our economic system of an unprecedented degree, and it’s hard to say what direction that that takes….

Hoover: It sounds like you are skeptical that capitalism is going to continue to be the right answer.

Ocasio-Cortez: Yeah, I think it’s, um, I think it’s, I think it’s at least a question. I think it’s absolutely a question.

There you have it.

The hottest star in the Democrat universe will not commit to a continuation of capitalism under her Democratic Socialist political world view. That’s the headline.

The part of the answer about the unemployment rate has generated substantial attention. Ocasio-Cortez clearly doesn’t understand how the unemployment rate works, and she has been mocked on social media and elsewhere for it.

Now left-leaning Politifact has given Ocasio-Cortez a “Pants on Fire” rating, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrong on several counts about unemployment:

During the interview, Ocasio-Cortez said, “Unemployment is low because everyone has two jobs. Unemployment is low because people are working 60, 70, 80 hours a week and can barely feed their family.” (It’s at about 5:45 in this video.)…

In our review, we found many reasons why unemployment is low, and not for the overwork that Ocasio-Cortez cited. The biggest factors include strong economic confidence and the long-running economic recovery. (Her campaign did not respond to an inquiry.)…

The Bureau of Labor Statistics keeps track of how many people work two jobs rather than just one.

Over the past 12 months, the number of multiple job holders has ranged between 6 million and 7 million. That compares to more than 148 million Americans who are employed in a single job.

So by the official statistics, multiple job holders account for a tiny fraction of American workers.

And this percentage isn’t high by historical standards….

It’s also worth noting that on average, Americans aren’t working more today than they have been in the recent past. The average number of hours worked in the private sector has hugged tightly to about 34.5 hours a week since 2006, except for a dip during the Great Recession….

When the BLS determines the unemployment rate, a person is counted as employed as long as they have at least one job. They don’t get counted twice if they have two jobs. So Ocasio-Cortez is wrong in saying multiple job holding and long hours affect the unemployment rate.

It’s worth remembering that both of the factors Ocasio-Cortez cited — people working multiple jobs and long hours — are actually good things for the labor market, said Gary Burtless, an economist with the Brookings Institution.

“Increases in the number of multiple job holders and longer average work hours almost always accompany a strengthening labor market — that is, a job market in which it is easier to find work, in which spells of unemployment are heading downwards, and in which the ranks of the unemployed are shrinking,” Burtless said….

Even taking into account rhetorical excess, her statement is off in multiple ways. Fewer than one in 20 employed Americans holds a second job of any type, and the people who might be working as much as 70 or 80 hours a week represent a tiny fraction of that tiny fraction. The rates for either statistic are not high by historical standards.

In any case, the BLS does not use either of those factors in determining the official unemployment rate.

We rate the statement Pants on Fire.

So Ocasio-Cortez got just about everything wrong. Wrong Fact. Wrong theory. Wrong conclusion.

She has a bright future in the Democratic Party.


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Christopher Columbus was an entrepreneur who sought out venture capitalists for his voyage to “India”

If this crazy-eyed Miss continues to trip over her own babble, coupled with her defeated primary opponent Joe Crowley’s(D) mysterious appearance on the ballot as the ‘Working Families’ candidate, Anthony Pappas (R) may hit a lucky strike and get elected to Congress instead of either of these lefties.

    casualobserver in reply to locomotivebreath1901. | July 20, 2018 at 11:26 am

    I seriously doubt that. The district makeup gives any R a really small chance. If I remember correctly, well over half of the district demographic earns below the median for the rest of the region and it has one of the highest poverty rates. I’m betting that’s why Cortez chose that district to run. A lot of the voters would be voting for more redistribution and entitlement programs than in most others even in downstate NY.

    No. There is no way at all for Pappas to win that seat. Ocasio-Cortez and Crowley between them will get at least 80% of the vote, so even if they split that evenly it would still put Pappas way back in third place.

    It really doesn’t matter how divided the Democrats may look here. The “machine” will make sure that nobody other than a Democrat (or Democrat approved) candidate will ever have a chance.

Whether she’s right or wrong about anything will make no shes a difference to her voters who will vote for her because she’s a Democrat, a woman, or has a Hispanic last name. her ability to understand issues won’t matter at all. The majority of voters in the US are so politically stupid they’d vote for a dog with a “D” behind its name.

    Barry in reply to floridaman. | July 20, 2018 at 11:44 am

    “…they’d vote for a dog with a “D” behind its name.”

    A dog would be a very large improvement. Mans best friend.

    audax in reply to floridaman. | July 20, 2018 at 11:46 am

    That would be a ‘yellow’ dog?

      Haverwilde in reply to audax. | July 20, 2018 at 1:12 pm

      Stop this degrading of yellow dogs. I own one, and he would never have a ‘D’ behind his name. He is kind, affectionate, and obedient–doesn’t hate anyone. So, he is no democrat.

        Paul in reply to Haverwilde. | July 20, 2018 at 1:21 pm

        I have one too. He’s highly intelligent, friendly to everyone, even those he disagrees with politically, and works hard. He’s also not afraid of guns.

    DieJustAsHappy in reply to floridaman. | July 24, 2018 at 4:28 pm

    Think of her as a young Maxine Waters or Nancy Pelosi. Like we need more in office after the likes of them.

Seems this little woman is in the dark about many things for which she is an advocate. She claims to be a Socialist. Does she know what a socialist is??

    Barry in reply to Hawk. | July 20, 2018 at 11:45 am

    “She claims to be…”

    She’s a Marxist, a commie. “Socialism” is just code for that.


    Does she know what a socialist is??

    Maybe Ms Ocasio-Cortez thinks a Socialist is someone who is very social….
    And she has a bunch of friends….so….you know….????

    MajorWood in reply to Hawk. | July 20, 2018 at 5:17 pm

    She would make a great Emily Litella type character.

    “Why, just the other day I was on facebook, you know, that socialist media application. But I also like Twitter, another socialist media application even better. They are very popular with the socialist justice warriors … “

casualobserver | July 20, 2018 at 11:22 am

Didn’t Elizabeth Warren double down an suggest many people were working up to 4 jobs?

I am enjoying this internal Dem struggle and laugh when people compare it to the GOP struggle and compare these Dem Socialists as being equivalent to the Tea Party and all. You know, they are all grassroot concerned citizens or some tripe.

The truth is the Dem division is well funded and an outside effort to move the party hard left. Often people know little about what they are talking about but dutifully repeat bumper sticker phrases. It is very much a top down effort, and as we see a portion of the Dem elected class are getting behind it including the DNC leadership.

In contrast, the Tea Party had much less commercial funding, the people were well read on their ideas (even if not always good at verbalizing it), and opposed by a lot of the “conservative establishment”. It was truly grassroots and based on principles.

Wildly uninformed. Perfect Democrat.

Capitalism has been the dominant economic practice since the beginning of recorded history. Communism/socialism comes and goes, but is always far behind capitalism in human economics. Why? Because human beings are not docile, communal insects, content to remain in one place with one job. Human beings want the freedom to find the job that they like and to be able to move upward in human society. This is what led the species to cover the globe and to rise to the pointy end of the food chain. Even, AO-C exemplifies this human trait. Instead of being content to live in the Bronx and have life-long position as a barista, she changed avocations and has become a politician.

Communal socialism is doomed, as long as those advocating for it fail to live by the principles that they espouse. It is nothing more than a delusional fantasy. Que Twilight Zone music.

Occasional-Cortex? I’d say those occasions are rare.

I heard somewhere she has a degree in economics. Whatever institution granted that degree needs investigated for malpractice.

Don’t understand why Democrat Joe Crowley doesn’t press foward as the nominee of the Working Class Party. He has name familiarity in his district. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez won the Democrat nomination with a low turn-out of Democrat voters, primarily Democrat activists. If sufficient resources are devoted to the campaign, I believe Crowley can win. A prime example is former senator Joe Lieberman who lost the Connecticut Democrat nomination but went on to win the general election as an Independent.

    Mac45 in reply to Guahan. | July 20, 2018 at 8:15 pm

    Wait for it. Timing is critical. About the beginning of October, Crowley comes out saying that O-C is going to destroy the Democrat Party and the USA. He feels that he HAS to get back into the race. He runs on his record while pointing out all the ludicrous positions and mistakes that O-C makes. He is sorry for he must do, but he has to run to save the Union. Just a patriot and a good Democrat, not a bomb throwing Commie.

But, but … “she is the future of our party” !
Yeah baby, just keep giving us more exactly like her !

inspectorudy | July 20, 2018 at 12:40 pm

This woman’s election to be the nominee for the Dems is nothing about her and totally about the lazy voters in her district. Only 13% of registered voters turned out for this race. Think about that. She is a Latino and the district is now 80% Latino. This is not a blue or socialistic wave. This is simply lazy voters who assumed that Crowley, like Eric Cantor, would walk to victory. We can all hope and pray that the DNC will push this idiot as their new champion!

    alaskabob in reply to inspectorudy. | July 20, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    Identity Politics…as you rightly point out. Only a “wise Latina” can represent the district. Anglos no longer need to apply. Just imagine when the Party is more heavily weighted with minorities and the ruling “white” class is tossed aside. Some will say a worthy sacrifice but others will know that their days feeding first at the trough is over.

    oldgoat36 in reply to inspectorudy. | July 20, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    So it was more a race based vote, given she chose to run there as a Latino in a predominately Latin community. But, of course it isn’t racist to use racism to get power.

    Milhouse in reply to inspectorudy. | July 20, 2018 at 4:14 pm

    The turnout was not low for a primary.

      Mac45 in reply to Milhouse. | July 20, 2018 at 8:18 pm

      It is not low for many primaries. Only 11% of the registered Democrats voted. What this means is that she not only didn’t get a majority of the registered Democratic vote, but she got the nomination on the basis of 6% of the registered Democrats in the district. Her candidacy is hardly a Democrat mandate.

      Edward in reply to Milhouse. | July 23, 2018 at 7:53 am

      That is certainly true for a Democrat Primary. National Democrat primary turnout as a percentage of eligible voters:

      1980 11.6% 84 7.0% 88 9.5% 92 9.1% 96 9.3% 2000 10.5%
      04 6.6% 08 11.0% 12 9.8%

I am so ashamed of myself. I was wondering if in my youth I would have listened to Marxist crap over dinner and drinks in hopes I could bed her later. Probably.


    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to Anchovy. | July 20, 2018 at 1:11 pm

    Her photos are bound to be photo-shopped. LOL

    MajorWood in reply to Anchovy. | July 20, 2018 at 5:29 pm

    You, and pretty much every guy she has ever met. At some point though, she started to believe their lines about finding her “intelligent and interesting.” I wonder if there is an aural equivalent to beer goggles. Maybe some clear silastic implants with embedded talk radio so you could appear to be listening to her while shaking ones head in agreement to the conservative talk-show host. Sounds like a pitch for Dragon’s Den.

healthguyfsu | July 20, 2018 at 1:16 pm

The only reason politifact is going after her is due to her alienation of the democratic mainstream.

Close The Fed | July 20, 2018 at 1:39 pm

Everyone has to learn for themselves that socialism leads to bare shelves and tyranny of the worst kinds.

Isn’t there someplace that’s supposed to let each person know this? Hm…. some institution….?

Oh, yes, they’re called “schools” and they no longer do their job and this woman is Exhibit 99,999,999,999,999. Someone yank their licenses!!

Close The Fed | July 20, 2018 at 1:41 pm

Also, I want a refund of my property taxes and income taxes used to fund this educational malpractice.

    Edward in reply to Close The Fed. | July 23, 2018 at 7:40 am

    Boston University is a private*, and very expensive, school. Guess she is proof of the veracity in the saying about sending kids to university but you can’t make them learn (with apologies to the actual old saying about leading horses to water).

    * Not that no Federal funds find their way into the schools coffers, but it is not a state supported school.

They’re still trying to protect her.

She made a flat statement that is brain-blendingly false, and in their ‘story’ on it, it takes them FIFTEEN PARAGRAPHS to finally state the obvious – that’s not how unemployment works.

Bonus points for ‘critics pounced’ in the very first paragraph.

Blaise MacLean | July 20, 2018 at 1:50 pm

Doesn’t she have an economics degree from Boston University? If so
(a) shouldn’t she ask for a refund on her wasted tuition?
(b) shouldn’t a warning go out to parents considering sending their children to study economics at BU that economics department apparently doesn’t understand or teach economics?
(c) maybe in fact BU does teach economics but Ms. Ocasio-Cortez was
(i) not bright enough to understand the subject, or
(ii) understands economics fine but as a socialist lies about the realities of economics (since socialism is constructed on falsehood and envy) in a pandering attempt to trick potential voters.

    I’d like to see her transcripts. As they say, “C’s get degrees.”

    In some schools, D’s also work.

    It’s very “Harrison Bergeron”, letting the people who barely passed their classes run the country and make policy, while hamstringing the people who actually do know their stuff.

    Blaise MacLean…

    From the Wikipedia bio; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is an American politician, EDUCATOR, community organizer, political activist.
    She has a bachelor’s degree in economics and international relations….

    After graduation, Ms Ocasio-Cortez moved back to the Bronx and worked 2 jobs! That means somebody in the Bronx had no job, cause Ms Ocasio-Cortez was working…TWO JOBS!!!!!!!! (Wow, was she greedy!!!!)

      Chicklet in reply to tgrondo. | July 21, 2018 at 12:43 am

      As is common in New York Politics, a small army of “volunteers” is assigned to the Wikipedia page, to immediately edit, delete and/or correct it to preserve the biography that was written for her by her masters.

      It’s easy to edit a Wikipedia page, go on, try it. You can try the Spanish or Chinese page too if you’re fluent. Any comment about the above post will be edited into oblivion in about 45 seconds.

… Give her a break! Stop harassing her! She’s from the Hiawatha Warren cherry-coated Indian tribe…

By the way, in case some people aren’t aware, New York’s “Working Families Party” is basically our old friends at ACORN/SIEU. When ACORN announced that it had shut down, it meant under that name; it continues to operate under different names, and in NY it’s the WFP.

She’s got it all. Youth, sex, vigor, beauty. Charisma. Communism. She should spend a few months touristing in Cuba.

Ocasio-Cortez is a Socialist, full stop. While she uses the description “Democratic Socialist,” it’s clear that she has disdain for capitalism….

Ocasio-Cortez is a “Democratic Socialist” the same way North Korea is a “Democratic People’s Republic”.

Which is to say, “None of the above”, but something far, far worse instead.

Boston University Colkege hardest hit.

Yearly tuition: $53,592

Value: “matchless”

And a cute thing like her? You have to wonder at all the extra credit she must have performed.

    Neo in reply to Fen. | July 20, 2018 at 8:55 pm

    I am totally amazed that anybody who was 4th in her undergrad class at BU with an economics and international studies degree can be so incredibly clueless about unemployment and “The Occupation”

    … or is that just an act ? … and who is the puppet master ?

Sounds like Politifact is run by the Democrat establishment, not their more lunatic base.

Crazy beyotch with crazy eyes!

LukeHandCool | July 21, 2018 at 3:21 pm

She’s just a year older than my daughter. She loves to brag about her economics degree.

My daughter was a double major in economics and mathematics. And my daughter, after hearing She Guevara’s unemployment rate comment, thinks She Guevara must’ve barely graduated.

One thing She Guevara has in spades which my daughter doesn’t have: way too much self-assurance.

She must have gotten one of those affirmative action degrees just like Obama.

DouglasJBender | July 23, 2018 at 7:38 am

She’s the smartest woman in the room, unless Obama’s there.