Newly elected Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), the youngest woman ever elected to the US Congress, told Anderson Cooper that high tax rates on the super-rich would help fund the ambitious plan to combat the threat of climate change known as the “Green New Deal.”
In an upcoming 60 Minutes interview, set to air this Sunday, the 29-year-old Democratic socialist says the “Green New Deal,” which aims to eliminate carbon emissions within 12 years, is “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 extent possible?” Ocasio-Cortez asks.
To pay for the deal, Ocasio-Cortez pointed to the progressive tax rate system in the 1960s and proposed the idea of tax rates as high as 70 percent on the super-rich.
“You know, you look at our tax rates back in the ’60s. And when you have a progressive tax rate system, your tax rate . . . let’s say, from zero to $75,000, may be ten percent or 15 percent, et cetera,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “But once you get to, like, the tippy tops, on your ten-millionth dollar, sometimes you see tax rates as high as 60 or 70 percent.”
“That doesn’t mean all $10 million are taxed at an extremely high rate, but it means that, as you climb up this ladder, you should be contributing more,” she added.
Cooper replied that she was proposing a “radical agenda, compared to the way politics is done right now.”
“I think that it only has ever been radicals that have changed this country,” Ocasio-Cortez replied. “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 calls herself a radical, Ocasio-Cortez said, “If that’s what radical means, call me a radical.”
The freshman Congresswoman has emerged as a national progressive firebrand and has captured the attention of Americans of all political stripes. Her suggestion to tax the ultra-rich as much as 70 percent is likely to get as much attention as the recently-revealed and now-viral clip of a college-aged Ocasio-Cortez mimicking an iconic scene from the iconic 1980’s movie “The Breakfast Club.”
Ocasio-Cortez was sworn into the House of Representatives on Thursday as Democrats reclaimed control of the lower chamber. During the Democratic primary in June, the political novice unseated incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley, the fourth highest-ranking Democrat in the House. Ocasio-Cortez is a self-identified Democratic Socialist and supports universal health care, tuition-free public universities and criminal justice reform.