Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Sunday said in the interest of immediately getting money to struggling Americans, the federal government should send checks to everybody — and then claw back what the wealthy get through taxes next year.
“I do think it should be universal,” the New York Democrat said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” referring to a stimulus plan to send checks to Americans as the coronavirus drags down the economy.
“I hear the argument: ‘Why you are going to give a check to Bill Gates,’” she said.
“One of the things we’re saying is tax it back a year from now. So we don’t have to worry about a big bureaucratic means test. Mail them all out to everybody and let’s get them back from the folks who don’t need them next year,.”
She claimed the stimulus package currently being debated in Congress — which would provide enhanced unemployment benefits — would fall short of helping some Americans, citing gig and contract workers.
The progressive Bronx lawmaker said she’s “very supportive” of the plan recommended by the Financial Services Committee that would send $2,000 this month to every American and an additional $1,000 per child.
With the cost of a relief package nearing $2 trillion, Ocasio-Cortez said “almost no number is too small” — but rejected the idea of bailing out corporations.
“I don’t think a lot of people out there really understand the systemic shock that is being experienced in the economy right now,” she said, adding that it is much bigger than the 2008 financial meltdown.
“The question is not just the size, but what we are doing with those funds. Because if we are having a huge package … there is no reason for corporate bailouts to be included in an emergency relief package,” she said.
Instead, the federal government should be focused on extending unemployment benefits, “getting checks in people’s hands” and suspending mortgage, rent and debt payments, she said.
“If we’re able to get money into households and stop the bleeding with pauses on money going out of households, then we can get working families through this thing,” she said.
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