In October, congresswoman Ocasio-Cortes from New York rolled out a series of new policy proposals. She’s named it ‘A Just Society’. It includes multiple bills and a resolution.
She claims that her policies will “improve our nation’s anti-poverty interventions.” We’re going to walk through her policy proposals and analyze the realistic ramifications and results we could expect if they are enacted.
A Place to Prosper Act
This bill claims to “Create an Equitable and Stable Rental Housing Market.”
Essentially, it restricts the ability of landlords. It allows for punitive measures to be taken against them, as well as for civil suits to be brought. The bill even sets aside $6.5 billion for legal assistance for tenants who are being evicted.
There are many actions restricted in this bill, most notably landlords are prohibited from raising rent by more than 3% after a lease expires.
This bill will initiate a national housing shortage. There is less of an incentive for property owners to rent out their property, and thus they will begin to drop off the market like flies. This isn’t going to help renters, in fact, it will hurt them as they find themselves looking for housing in a market where property owners have been driven away.
The Recognizing Real Poverty Act
This bill would “require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to [develop a new] poverty line.”
It states that the new poverty line may not be lower than the current, regardless of if the data lends itself to that conclusion.
Recently, representative Ocasio-Cortes expressed her support of a national poverty line of $38,000. A number like this would qualify entire rural areas for welfare unnecessarily.
This bill begins to define “new necessities.” She leaves the specifics of this fairly vague but does outline the following as some of these new necessities: “Internet access and funds needed to secure children’s equal educational opportunity.”
Being able to send your child to a private school instead of the local public school certainly isn’t a necessity. And while the internet is helpful, life can be lived without at-home internet access.
The Guaranteeing The Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights of All Americans Resolution
This resolution seeks to force the United States to ratify “the United Nations Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.”
In this resolution, Ocasio-Cortes states that the United States is “a land of stark inequality.” She cites U.N. research in stating that citizens of the United States can expect to “live shorter and sicker lives compared to people living in any other rich democracy.”
This is certainly up for debate. Many of the United States’ problems regarding health come out of our abundance, an accepted feature of our free, capitalist society.
She goes on to claim that poverty and inequality don’t have to exist. What she doesn’t seem to realize is that inequality is another feature of capitalism. Wealth inequality is perfectly fine in an economic system where there is equality of opportunity, which allows for social mobility. Even the poorest Americans have far more money, technology, and opportunity than 70% of all people extant.
She further states that “every American has the right to just working conditions, quality healthcare, an excellent education, healthy food, and safe housing.” Every American indeed has the right to pursue these things, but the government is not responsible for providing them.
Further, America must reject the notion of “economic, social, and cultural rights”. There are no such things, as no one has the right to capital that they have not earned, nor do they have the right to compel labor or speech.
The Embrace Act
The purpose of this bill is to “provide access to Federal public benefits for aliens, without regard to the immigration status of that alien.”
It seeks to guarantee benefits to those who may not be contributing at all.
It states that “an individual who is an alien may not be denied any federal public benefit solely on the basis of the individual’s immigration status.”
It defines a public benefit as “any retirement, welfare, health, disability, public or assisted housing, post-secondary education, food assistance, unemployment benefit,” and it does not limit the definition to these alone.
Essentially, this bill will further incentivize illegal immigration by effectively guaranteeing a free ride from the United States government—something not even afforded to citizens.
The Mercy in Re-entry Act
This bill sets out to “provide access to Federal public benefits for individuals with criminal convictions.”
Public benefits, in this case, are defined the same as in ‘The Embrace Act’ above. Individuals would not be able to be denied any public benefit on the basis that they are a convicted criminal.
This is extremely problematic seeing as these convicted criminals have often spent time in jail/prison being supported by taxpayer dollars, only to further benefit from them when they are released, under this proposal.
To Uplift Our Workers Act
This bill aims to “require a score of worker-friendliness of each employer before entering into a Federal contract, to establish a contracting preference for such score.”
This bill is hoping to influence the way companies operate by threatening the loss of or the lack of consideration for federal contracts.
It doesn’t institute rules that companies can be punished for not complying with, but some of the determining factors of the score are concerning.
Companies will get lower scores if they don’t pay at least $15/hr. We know that the higher the minimum wage, the higher prices become. This would effectively enforce a federal minimum wage of $15—at least for any company that wants a shot at a federal contract or subcontract.
Scores will also go down if a company does not offer at least 56 hours of paid sick leave. Not providing at least 12 weeks of paid family/maternity leave also results in a deducted score. Even not providing “high-quality” healthcare leads to a lower score.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.