The Long-Lasting Economic Lessons of AOC Selling Expensive Sweatshirts for Socialism

P. Gardner Goldsmith | December 4, 2020

She’s a Marxist-collectivist, embracing to varying degrees all of the planks of Marx’s Communist Manifesto. She openly promotes legislation to push the U.S. government closer to a paradigm that has seen governments around the world exterminate more than 100 million people. She makes her money by forcing people to pay through the involuntary servitude of taxation. Her “salary” increases automatically unless she and the majority in the House vote to prevent the increases.

And now, in the name of “fighting inequality," Alexandria Ocasio-Ortez is promoting the sale of “Tax The Rich” sweatshirts. And she wants $58 per shirt.

In other words, she’s a towering hypocrite.

And this offers us a chance to learn some large lessons about economics... 

First, let’s review the sweatshirt controversy. As Katie Moon noted for MRCTV, AOC the Marxist is operating under capitalism to raise funds for political purposes. And within that hypocrisy is the fact that these sweatshirts, originally priced at $65, are so expensive, few people who don’t have a lot of expendable capital could buy them.

The Boston Herald reports:

‘To me, capitalism is irredeemable,’ New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez once said. Unless it works, which it seems to for the squad star, who is promoting her merch on social media. One fave is the ‘Tax the Rich’ sweatshirt, originally marked at $65. That’s the same price of a ‘Green New Deal’ hoodie. A ‘Drink Water & Don’t Be Racist’ T sells for $27.

And, in a world where AOC demands that much for her “products," even after deriding capitalism, this allows us to remember some important life-lessons.

First, we can see that we are not alone in recognizing her jaw-dropping hypocrisy.

As Lauren Fruen notes for The Daily Mail, self-described populist Ryan James Girdusky took to his Twitter platform to write:

AOC has a store where she’s selling shirts… otherwise known as capitalism.

And Allie Beth Stuckey Tweeted:

Capitalism is amazing, isn’t it?

AOC’s shop goes to some lengths to tell people that FoxNews doesn’t like the sweatshirt, offers credit to the designer of the ridiculously basic design, and makes sure to tell visitors (who get online by using the tech and spare time allowed by capitalist productivity) lots of other things that, perhaps, she and her leftist website managers think make their crass entry into capitalism more palatable to collectivists. As The Boston Herald notes:

AOC makes a point of noting that her merch is ‘made in the USA and creates living wage, dignified union jobs for people across the country.’ Workers producing goods for others to sell and make money — there’s a word for that. Capitalism.

Additionally, by publishing that on her sales site, AOC and her team imply that the visitor can be sure of these things being done for the workers…

In other words, the government didn’t need to force them to do so. They actually are arguing against all the regulations and trade sanctions and wage statutes and pro-union laws that AOC says are so important to protect “Americans.”

Obviously, people can sell based on their own criteria, and consumers can buy based on theirs. AOC’s own website reveals this, and no government mandates are justified.

To take it a step deeper, by engaging in the simple process of asking for a purchase and noting on her website that a portion of the purchase is, as The Herald notes, a political donation, she is acting in a manner that Marx explicitly decried when he offered gullible people his dumb “Explotation Theory of Value." Simply put, Marx believed that the worker was the only player in the trade matrix who provided value -- doing so via his or her labor -- and that any profit the business owner made was a product of “exploitation," that the profit should ALL go to the worker.

So, why isn’t AOC giving it all to the workers who made her shirts? How can she take a portion of the sales and apply it to a campaign? By doing so, she breaks one of the Marxist Commandments: “Thou shalt not syphon off the marginal value of the labor that went into your crazy-expensive product.”

Perhaps it’s because she is, as stated earlier, a hypocrite, and, more to the point, she doesn’t have a clue about free market trade.

As Brad Polumbo notes for The Foundation for Economic Education, AOC recently went on a published tirade about the wickedness of “billionaires,” expressing her erroneous belief that the existence of billionaires in the U.S. is a symptom of an exploitative capitalist system, saying:

Billionaires are a symptom of a society that does not afford people basic elements of dignity...

And Polumbo adds that AOC also said: 

If people want, we can revisit the billionaire question when everyone has healthcare, climate change is addressed, [and] people have actual dignified standards of living.

To which Polumbo correctly responds by explaining that in free trade, the consumer, the worker, and the business owner all trade and make themselves better off, that the seller is not just the seller of the end product, and the buyer is not just the end buyer. Each party is a seller and a buyer. The employer buys the services of the employee and sells both the product to the consumer and his expertise, his workplace, tools, heat, and an offering of salary to the employee. The employee sells his or her skills and time, and receives in return a wage, often before the employer even makes a profit. The end buyer sells his or her cash, and trades it for the product or service offered by the team of the employer and his employees. Consumers also are employers/sellers. Employers are consumers/employees. Employees are employers and consumers and sellers. They are all TRADERS. Hence, writes Polumbo:

When you voluntarily buy groceries from the local market, you and the store owner are both made better off by the transaction. You get goods that are worth more to you than the money you’re spending on them (or else you wouldn’t make the purchase) and vice versa for the store owner.

And he adds:

So, in pursuing his fortune, a billionaire supermarket chain owner would have to enrich millions of customers by creating opportunities for mutually beneficial transactions. The only way to obtain great wealth without doing this would be to lobby the government for crony regulations or subsidies to get an artificial monopoly (the kind of programs Ocasio-Cortez often supports).

Which is precisely right, and is an additional indicator that the double-standards reflected on her “Fabian Fashion” website run deep in AOC’s thinking.

As does her utter lack of any insight into how economics works.

(Cover Photo: Dimitri Rodriguez)