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On Monday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D–N.Y.) spoke to author Ta-Nehisi Coates about billionaires and wealth inequality at a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day event at Riverside Church in Harlem, New York.
When Coates pressed Ocasio-Cortez on whether billionaire entrepreneurs deserve to keep their money, she responded, "Well you didn't make those widgets, did you?…You sat on a couch while thousands of people were paid modern-day slave wages—and in some cases, real modern-day slavery, depending on where you are in terms of food production."
"You made that money off of the backs of undocumented people, you made that money off of the backs of black and brown people being paid under a living wage, you made that money off of the backs of single mothers," Ocasio-Cortez continued. "No one ever makes a billion dollars. You take a billion dollars."
Later, she turned her attention to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, suggesting that "if Jeff Bezos wants to be a good person, he'd turn Amazon into a worker cooperative."
Suggestions like that are more interesting than her philosophical insistence that no one deserves to be rich because anyone, anywhere has to work in order to eat. But it's unlikely to work for a company of Amazon's size. As John McClaughry wrote in a 1985 issue of Reason:
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