Ivanka Trump reacted to the Green New Deal’s guarantee of a job and living wage for every American who wants one, saying she thinks workers don’t “want to be given something.” CNN’s Jake Tapper discusses with his panel. #CNN #News
Freshman Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez responded via Twitter after Ivanka Trump, appearing in a Fox News interview, criticized the Green New Deal, legislation championed by Ocasio-Cortez. NBC’s Morgan Radford reports for TODAY. ” Subscribe to TODAY: http://on.today.com/SubscribeToTODAY ” Watch the latest from TODAY: http://bit.ly/LatestTODAY About: TODAY brings you the latest headlines and expert tips on money, health and parenting.
The obvious consequences of putting people who were born rich in charge of the government.
In an interview with Fox News Monday night, senior White House adviser Ivanka Trump took time out of her usual tasks of failing to positively influence her father or materially affect the Trump administration’s policy to opine to Fox host Steve Hilton about the minimum-guaranteed-income plank of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal plan. “I think that this idea of a guaranteed minimum is not something most people want,” Trump said, providing no evidence whatsoever. “They want the ability to be able to secure a job. They want the ability to live in a country where’s there’s the potential for upward mobility.”
Guaranteed minimum incomes are, many economists state, precisely what some people need to have upward mobility — they are drivers of it, not inhibitors. Trump’s assumptions about the relationship between work and poverty are typical of her father’s administration’s obliviousness to the needs and circumstances of Americans who are struggling financially. Trump, her father, President Trump, her husband, Jared Kushner, and many of their colleagues — Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, etc. — who claim to be acting on behalf of the working classes behave as if they’ve never encountered members of that particular economic strata.
That’s because for the most part, they haven’t. Aside from the service workers they encounter and people they employ in working-class jobs, they spend the bulk of their time around other wealthy elites. But worse, none of them has experienced the conditions that lead people to need basic income guarantees or how dangerously close many Americans are to poverty even when fully employed. When the government shut down for a record length of time earlier this year, Ross suggested that furloughed federal workers just take out loans to cover expenses for things such as food and housing, then pay them back once salaries resumed. (His own agency’s credit union was offering short-term loans at 9 percent interest.) In a country where 40 percent of American households are one paycheck away from living at the poverty level, Ross said he didn’t “really quite understand why” federal workers were going to food banks after going a few weeks without pay. For a rich guy, of course, who cares if the cost of the shutdown and Trump’s inability to negotiate gets dumped on the workers, in the form of interest and fees the government has no intention of reimbursing them for, to cover the sudden disappearance of the salaries they were due? Let them eat cake, Ross argued, and let them pay extra for it because we’re all out of bread, and it’s their fault, somehow.
I’ve experienced this personally with Kushner, who was my boss at the New York Observer several years ago, when he was still ostensibly a Democrat. I mentioned in the course of conversation that my dad had been a local lineman for Alabama Power and had worked as a contractor on the side to make ends meet — entrepreneurialism by necessity. Kushner replied that he could relate because he thought of himself as “self-made” in a way. When I asked him to elaborate, he conflated entrepreneurialism in general with bootstrapping and waxed about his first real business: buying up residential real estate in Cambridge, Mass., during his tenure at Harvard (admission secured by a generous donation to the university) and flipping it.
But when they entertain these self-delusions, it negatively affects their orientation toward other people.
Trump and his crew have never been in danger of facing dire economic situations, and not only because they’re fully employed. There are things that ruin people’s lives financially every day that have nothing to do with work ethic — and that could never happen to a core member of the Trump administration. No one close to Trump will get thrown into jail for a couple days because they were wrongly entered into a gang database solely by virtue of living in a specific part of public housing or wearing the wrong color shirt, then lose their job because they didn’t show up to work. None of them will ever have to face the possibility of medical bankruptcy while working 60 hours a week. None of them had to drop out of high school or college to care for a sick parent. None of them have to worry about not having access to abortion if birth control fails and being saddled with a child they can’t afford or spending thousands of dollars in medical expenses for carrying a fetus to term and giving the baby up for adoption (which is the only available trajectory that Republicans and the Trump administration want women in this situation to have).
So when Ivanka Trump says that there should be no minimum guaranteed income because people want to work for their money, there are two possibilities: One is that her imagination and sense of empathy are so egregiously stunted that she cannot envision the large and not exactly invisible portion of the population who cannot just work their way out of poverty and genuinely need basic income as a result. The other is that she knows these people exist, and is callously indifferent to whether they live because it doesn’t affect her one way or the other. She can render them abstract because she’s never been personally exposed to the circumstances they face, and barring a giant reversal of her own fortunes, she’ll never have to face or understand their problems.
But telling people to pull themselves up by the bootstraps — an expression that originated as a way to describe an impossible or absurd act — is not a policy prescription. It’s the useless advice of someone enjoying the view from a higher altitude who’s wrongly convinced themselves that they climbed there.