He made sure to infuse his criticism with vague shots at the Republican Party, but CNN’s Fareed Zakaria had a strong message for the Democratic Party and its new “boss,” democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, on his show Sunday: If Democrats continue to embrace feelings over facts and swerve further left, they’re going to lead the country into “a new dark age.”
“It’s refreshing to see the Democratic Party bubbling with new ideas, but its new thinking seems starkly different from the party’s reform efforts of the past three decades,” Zakaria began (video below). “The wonky proposals of the Clinton-Obama era were pragmatic and incremental and mixed market incentives with government action. Today we have big, dramatic, stirring ideas — and that could be the problem. In the zeal to match the sweeping rhetoric of right-wing populism, Democrats are spinning out dramatic proposals, indeed — but proposals in which facts are sometimes misrepresented, the numbers occasionally don’t add up, and emotional appeal tends to trump actual policy and analysis.”
He then took direct aim at “the future” of the Democratic Party, Ocasio-Cortez: “When Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was confronted recently by Anderson Cooper on ’60 Minutes’ about an egregious misstatement about Pentagon spending, she responded:”
Ocasio-Cortez: I think that there’s a lot of people more concerned about being precisely, factually and semantically correct than about being morally right.
“Perhaps this casual attitude towards facts explains the way that she and many others on the Left have misrepresented the deal that New York offered Amazon to bring a new headquarters there,” he said. Zakaria then played another much-critiqued clip from the freshman congresswoman.
Ocasio-Cortez: If we were willing to give away $3 billion for this deal, we could invest those $3 billion in our district ourselves, if we wanted to. We could hire out more teachers. We can fix our subways. We can put a lot of people to work for that money, if we wanted to.
“But as Mayor Bill de Blasio explained,” said Zakaria, barely holding back a laugh:
De Blasio: This was a deal that was going to bring $27 billlion in revenue to the state and city for things like public education, mass transit, affordable housing. And that $3 billion that would go back in tax incentives was only after we were getting the jobs and getting revenue. … There’s no money [sitting there].
The host then called out the irresponsibility of those Democrats calling for Medicare-for-All. “Or consider the race by prominent Democrats to embrace Medicare-for-All,” he said. “A variety of expert studies have estimated that total increased government spending would be between about $2.5 and $3 trillion a year. Few of the many proposals being floated would likely raise anything close to that in revenue. And if a Herculean effort were made to raise revenue for Medicare-for-All, there would be few easy avenues to fund any of the ambitious proposals on the new Democratic wishlist.”
While he stressed that he believes providing universal healthcare is an important moral goal, Zakaria said the complexity of the U.S. system makes it likely impossible to attain without severe disruption to the economy. The only realistic version, he said, is basically “Obamacare with a real mandate,” but he noted that those now steering the Democrats would likely dismiss that along with other “incremental policies of the past.”
As for the wealth tax pushed by Elizabeth Warren and others, Zakaria pointed out that “there is a reason” that nine of the twelve countries that have imposed them decided to repeal them in the last 25 years: “They massively destroyed economic activity, often incentivizing people to hide assets, devalue them and create dummy corporations.”
After presenting more reasonable tax-raising proposals, the host returned to Ocasio-Cortez, whose “60 Minutes” comments he compared to Newt Gingrich saying in 2016 that as a political analyst he’ll go with how people feel over the facts.
“We already have one major political party that now routinely twists facts, disregards evidence, ignores serious policy analysis and just makes stuff up to appeal to people’s emotions and prejudices,” said Zakaria, in a quote CNN chose to tweet out. “If the Democrats now start moving along this path as well, American politics will truly descend into a new dark age.”
Video below via CNN:
.@FareedZakaria: “We already have one major political party that now routinely twists facts, disregards evidence, ignores serious policy analysis & just makes stuff up…If the Democrats now start moving along this path… American politics will truly descend into a new dark age” pic.twitter.com/3f4FcEhyfD
— CNN (@CNN) February 24, 2019