Putting Tax Rates and Billionaire 'Excess' in Moral Terms, Ocasio-Cortez Asks 'What Kind of Society Do We Want to Live In?'

Appearing on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” Monday night, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) once again brought to American households a discussion of the economic system which has allowed an extreme wealth gap to widen in the United States, explaining her proposal to impose a far higher tax rate on the wealthiest Americans in order to even the playing field.

“At what level are we really just living in excess, and what kind of society do we want to live in?” —Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.)

Weeks after telling Anderson Cooper on “60 Minutes” that Americans who make more than $10 million per year should be taxed at 70 percent, Ocasio-Cortez explained to Colbert that her proposal is far from radical.

“It’s not a new idea,” she said. “Under the Republican administration of Dwight D. Eisenhower, we had 90 percent marginal tax rates.”

The first-term congresswoman, whose outspoken advocacy for a Medicare for All system, a Green New Deal, and bold reforms to pull working Americans out of poverty has left establishment Democrats and their supporters claiming that she is a “radical,” did not mince words in summing up how economic inequality in the U.S. has spiraled out of control.

“I do think that a system that allows billionaires to exist when there are parts of Alabama where people are still getting ringworm because they don’t have access to public health is wrong,” she said.

While Ocasio-Cortez clarified that she doesn’t believe billionaires like Bill Gates or Warren Buffet are “immoral” just because they are billionaires, she highlighted the moral question around an economic system that permits a handful of people to amass such wealth when so many in society are forced to live in poverty as they work long hours for meager pay.

“At what level are we really just living in excess,” she asked, “and what kind of society do we want to live in?”

The line drew loud applause from Colbert’s studio audience.