Things That Matter

Here’s What AOC Has Done Since Taking Office

Before Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became a Congresswoman earlier this year, she was just a bartender, living off tips in the Bronx. She became interested in politics after her father died without leaving a will and AOC was locked into a long probate battle. She told The Intercept that the experience helped her learn “firsthand how attorneys appointed by the court to administer an estate can enrich themselves at the expense of the families struggling to make sense of the bureaucracy.”

It’s been just three months since she’s been sworn into office and she’s following through on her campaign promises to work for the people. That simple cause has shaken the core of politics to the point that the GOP has found their new ‘radical’ obsession. Here’s a headliner grounded in facts, comadres.

AOC was sworn into Congress on January 3, 2019.

CREDIT: @AOC / Instagram

Of course, AOC invited her mami, Blanca Ocasio-Cortez to be by her side during the swearing in. AOC represents New York’s 14th congressional district, which includes parts of The Bronx and Queens.

Her very presence marked one of the first Democratic Socialists to take a seat.

CREDIT: @AOC / Instagram

AOC and Rashida Tlaib are the first two members of the Democratic Socialists of America to have a seat in Congress. That means she advocates for progressive economies that closely resemble Finland and Sweden, not Cuba and Venezuela as her haters claim.

On Day 1, she participated in a climate change protest outside Nancy Pelosi’s office.

CREDIT: @sunrisemvmt / Twitter

This is pretty earth-shattering for a freshman Congresswoman to be calling out her own party. AOC is breaking the system and staying rooted in the people.

Since then, she’s drafted and proposed a Green New Deal, which will basically save the human race.

CREDIT: @Liat_RO / Twitter

In order to pay for the Green New Deal, AOC has been making lots of FOX News headlines for proposing a 70 pertcent marginal tax rate on incomes above $10 million. Let it be known that this rate had been in effect for decades before the GOP changed the law.

She published her Green New Deal proposal to a Google Doc.

CREDIT: @CJAOurPower / Twitter

Millenials taking office means politics becoming accessible to everyone. Literally, every single American with access to the internet could view her edits, and send her feedback.

She’s coining new terms to advance her the people’s political agenda.

CREDIT: @AOC / Twitter

It doesn’t matter what you believe if the end result of that belief is worsening wildfires, hurricanes and heat waves. Thank goodness AOC is here to put out these ignorant-fueled political fires.

And is clapping back harder than ever. ????

CREDIT: @AOC / Twitter

They will look for anything to hold against her. This was in response to a conservative outlet reporting that she left a Green New Deal protest in a 19 mpg van. Her tía loaned her the van for the day. ????

In fact, her social media savviness is so impressive that she was appointed to teach Congress how to use social media.

CREDIT: @AOC / Twitter

Sign me up for that class, AOC. Please distill your wisdom and only share with those of us who are worthy. It’s basically a superhero power these days.

AOC recently interrogated Michael Cohen to the point that he implied Trump may have committed tax and bank fraud.

CREDIT: @AOC / Instagram

When Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, appeared before the Oversight Committee, AOC pointedly asked him if he ever inflated property values for bank or insurance purposes. Some folks asked why she never became a lawyer, and she responded that she couldn’t afford it.

AOC has also invited the American people on a tour of her Congressional orientation.

CREDIT: @ocasio2018 / Instagram

Nope, she didn’t suddenly become an elusive politician overnight. She’s still making her mac ‘n cheese on Instagram Live taking your questions.

During her first month in office, dozens of supportive post-it notes were placed on her nameplate.

CREDIT: @AOC / Instagram

The Superintendent of House Office Buildings removed the post-it notes because they obscured the braille on her nameplate. Nonetheless, it’s the thought that counts.

She’s bringing her Latinidad into every room.

CREDIT: @AOC / Instagram

She actually went up in front of Congress and sang the ‘sana, sana, colita de rana’ song for good luck! That means she had the 40th pick of offices to choose from.

She’s also calling bull on the pushback Congresswoman Ilhan Omar is receiving for her advocacy for Palestinian people.

CREDIT: @AOC / Twitter

Did Rep. Omar poorly word her statement calling out the state of Israel’s financing of American politics? Yes. She did not yell out “Go back to _____” to anyone. We still don’t know which GOP member yelled that at AOC.

AOC is actually calling her constituents.

CREDIT: @AOC / Twitter

Oh, did we mention that her entire campaign was funded by the people? Not a single dollar from lobbyists means that we know that she’s hired by the people and not by corporations.

She’s solving the problems local to her district.

CREDIT: @AOC / Twitter

All politics are local politics. This is what Congress members should be doing for their constituents.

AOC might be the first ever congressperson to actually pay her interns a living wage.

CREDIT: @AOC / Twitter

Why is that important? That means that people who don’t have the privilege of a trust fund can make their way into politics. It opens the door for a much more diverse set of experiences.

In a nod to suffragettes, AOC wore all white to Trump’s State of the Union speech.

CREDIT: @thehill / Twitter

The first Black woman elected to Congress wore white on her first day, along with Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman to run for president. Hillary Clinton wore the white suit to Trump’s inauguration.

AOC was a key speaker in the Women’s March held in January 2019.

CREDIT: @lannadelgrey / Twitter

At the 2019 Women’s March, AOC rallied for intersectional feminism that’s based in a new concept of justice. “Justice is not a concept we read about in a book. Justice is about the water we drink. Justice is about the air we breathe. Justice is about how easy it is to vote. Justice is about how much ladies get paid.”

Well done, AOC. Keep up the good work.

CREDIT: @AmericanIndian / Twitter

Her willingness to continue to fight for her conjsituent’s needs and wants is something to admire.

READ: AOC Fights Back Against Allegations She’s A Hypocrite When It Comes To Protecting The Environment

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Student Loan Debt Relief Is Trending But What Can We Expect From An Incoming Biden Administration?

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Student Loan Debt Relief Is Trending But What Can We Expect From An Incoming Biden Administration?

Salwan Georges / Getty Images

We still have over two months until President-Elect Joe Biden takes office on January 20, 2021. However, that hasn’t prevented people and pundits from discussing what needs to change (and how quickly) once he’s sworn in.

Obviously, the new president will have a lot on his plate. Thanks to an unprecedented four years under a Trump Administration which has largely gutted several government agencies and enacted dangerous policies for Americans, Biden will have to act quickly and decisively.

One possible agenda item for Biden’s first days in office involves the student loan debt crisis. Currently, our collective student loan debt stands at $1.7 trillion (the second largest debt behind mortgages), so it’s no surprise that the Biden team are looking to address the crisis.

Biden signals he’s open to student loan debt relief but is it enough?

During a Monday press conference, President-Elect Biden confirmed his support for forgiving some student debt “immediately.”

He repeated his support for a provision passed as part of the HEROES Act, which the Democratic-controlled House updated on Oct. 1. The provision calls for the federal government to pay off up to $10,000 in private, nonfederal student loans for “economically distressed” borrowers. Biden specifically highlighted “people … having to make choices between paying their student loan and paying the rent,” and said the debt relief “should be done immediately.”

Student debt forgiveness was a major campaign plank of some of his more progressive rivals for the Democratic nomination, but it remains controversial even among some Democrats. 

However, many point to it as a plan he can execute quickly and on his own. Attorneys at a Harvard legal clinic argue that the power to cancel federal student loan debt rests with the president and his or her education secretary, since it’s the Education Department that actually originates these loans. That means it can be done regardless of who controls the Senate without passing any new laws.

According to many experts, canceling student debt could have a major positive impact on the economy.

Credit: Tom Williams / Getty Images

Although it sounds like forgiving student load debt would be an easy move, some are asking should it be done? Most economists agree that canceling student debt will boost the economy, freeing up younger people to start businesses, buy homes and even start families. 

In fact, Elizabeth Warren, in her presidential campaign proposal, cited arguments that debt forgiveness would reduce the racial wealth gap, reverse rural brain drain and allow more people to complete their educations.

Activist groups such as the Debt Collective go further, arguing that student debt is wrong in principle. “We must return education to the status of a public good,” the organization says on its website.

Progressives like AOC and ‘The Squad’ are pressuring Biden to expand his plan.

The Squad (the nickname given to Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan) have strongly supported wiping $30,000 off student loan debts, which they outlined in their Student Debt Emergency Relief Act in March.

The bill aims to provide immediate monthly payment relief to those who have taken out federal student loans and crucially prevent those with student debts from having to make involuntary payments during the coronavirus pandemic.

And in response to many who are against the idea, AOC had the perfect clap back. In a tweet on Tuesday, she dismissed arguments against canceling hefty debts accrued in further education.

“‘Things were bad for me, so they should stay bad for everyone else’ is not a good argument against debt cancellation – student, medical, or otherwise. #CancelStudentDebt,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley further contributed to the debate, adding: “Student debt cancelation will ensure an equitable economic recovery from COVID-19, jumpstart our economy & close the racial wealth gap. One more thing,” she said.

But why are so many others so upset about canceling student debt?

Many opposed to canceling student debt claim that it would create resentment in those who spent a long time paying off their own college debts. The argument goes that they had to sacrifice and suffer and it wouldn’t be fair that current and future college grads might not have to sacrifice and suffer in the same way.

Other critics of debt forgiveness state that a bailout will simply redistribute the debt to other Americans, and will largely benefit those who can afford to go to college, disproportionately helping a well-off segment of society at the expense of the taxpayer. 

Something those people should keep in mind, though, is that their experience of massive student loan debt is not one shared by every generation of students. From 1988 to 2018, the cost of college increased by 213%. Wages, unsurprisingly, did not increase by 213% in that period — in fact, they’ve pretty much remained stagnant since the 1970s.

Perhaps most importantly, canceling student debt doesn’t negatively affect those who’ve already paid off their student loans. Insisting that other people pay off their loans in full, no matter how much of a hardship, is demanding suffering for the sake of suffering. 

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AOC Goes Head To Head With Marco Rubio After He Attacked Democratic Socialism

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AOC Goes Head To Head With Marco Rubio After He Attacked Democratic Socialism

Michael M. Santiago / Getty

When it comes to rumors, hearsay and false statements Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has proven time and again that she has no tolerance. She also showed that faced with disinformation campaigns being spread by her colleagues in politics, she will do more than just fight back. She’ll serve the truth.

So there’s no surprise that when AOC saw Florida Sen. Marco Rubio spreading falsehoods she was quick to come to the rescue.

Over the weekend, after Florida Sen. Marco Rubio started to get trigger happy on Twitter, AOC stepped in.

On Sunday, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio went to Twitter and announced, “Not every Democrat is a socialist. But every socialist is a democrat.” It didn’t take long for Ocasio-Cortez, a prominent member of the Democratic Socialists of America, to clear things up for Rubio on Twitter.

“Curious what you call GOP giving away billions in public funds to Wall St & fossil fuel companies?” she replied to Rubio. “Or what you call YOUR ability to go to Walter Reed hospital & receive socialized healthcare for free? Funny how it’s only ‘socialism’ when others get what y’all give yourselves.”

The Congresswoman went onto comment “(Also, the idea that socialists like Dems… lol).”

It didn’t take long for those with non-Democratic ties to also chime in on Rubio’s tweet.

Green Party presidential nominee Howie Hawkins tweeted that “Marco Rubio is very confused,” he replied. “The only socialists with a path to the White House are me and @AngelaNWalker on the @GreenPartyUS ecosocialist ticket.”

American political strategist and commentator, Ana Navarro-Cárdenas who is also a conservative never-Trumper replied “Not every US Senator from Florida is an embarrassing disappointment. Oh, wait….”

Rubio has made his dislike for Democratic socialism clear for years. In the past, he’s tweeted that “‘Socialism’ is incompatible with America’s founding principles because marxism is the belief that: ‘Persons of & by themselves have no value. An individual has a value only inasmuch as he is the representative of an economic category…outside of that, man has no value.’”

A socialist, in the traditional sense, is an adherent of socialism. 

Socialism can be defined as “a system of social organization in which private property and the distribution of income are subject to social control.” 

Recently, Business Insider broke down the difference between a ‘socialist’ and a ‘democratic socialist’ and the differences are pretty clear.

As the outlet highlights socialism can be defined as “a system of social organization in which private property and the distribution of income are subject to social control… In other words, it’s a state-controlled economy in which the state controls the means of production (factories, offices, resources, and firms). There are also forms of socialism in which the means of production are controlled and owned by workers.”

On the other hand democratic socialists, like AOC, are committed to democracy.

“Democratic socialists also believe strongly in democracy and democratic principles,” explained. “They are by no means proponents of authoritarian government systems many Americans associate socialism with.”

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