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.DONATE
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