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Emoji economics and cow fart concerns

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Photo courtesy Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Facebook page.

Emoji Economics: The practice of putting unworkable economic proposals into 140-character social media statements and clever quips to gain fame and demagogue your political opponents.

Emojis are cute little graphics that can be attached to text messages or used on social media. You’ve probably seen them. Few people take them very seriously.

You can get a lobster, an eggplant, a thumbs up or a heart symbol along with hundreds of others. You can even get one of a woman with her palm on her face looking distressed or confused.

A lot of Americans can identify with that emoji in the last few years.

If you are clever with Twitter, you can even use Tweets and emojis to win an election and become the voice of American socialism for an entire generation – enter Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

From her celebration of driving away 25,000 good paying jobs for her constituents to putting forward a plan to abolish automobiles, planes and cows in the coming decade to save the planet from global warming  – Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s entire political persona is built around the concept of emoji economics.

It doesn’t matter if it’s practical, affordable or policy that is needed. All that matters is that it will be retweeted in huge numbers.

Medicare for All, everyone loves health care. Sounds great! Tweet it!

New Green Deal, we’ll say we’re saving the planet. Tweet it!

People hate billionaires and a billionaire owns Amazon, so attack Amazon and their plan to create 25,000 good paying jobs in New York. Tweet it! Victory!

Yet every time, after the initial surge of tweets has hit, a wave of reality soon follows.

Medicare for all would cost $32 trillion over 10 years and cause massive middle-class tax increases.

The Green New Deal? So unreasonable, unworkable and expensive even Speaker Nancy Pelosi won’t align herself with it.

As an aside, Maine’s Chellie Pingree is a proud cosponsor of the Green New Deal, and Rep. Jared Golden of Maine’s sprawling rural Second Congressional District had not come out for or against the GND as of the writing of this column.

How bad is the Green New Deal? A consultant writing for Forbes couldn’t even estimate the total cost, but he got to $25 trillion over ten years before he gave up.

By now, at least most New Yorkers have heard that the loss of the Amazon HQ deal that Rep. Ocasio-Cortez celebrated is going to cost their state somewhere around $4 billion in worker wages and $12 billion in economic activity as those jobs land in another, more business-friendly state.

Taken together, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s two biggest agenda items would cost, at a minimum, more than $5 trillion per year.

To put that number in perspective, we could eliminate all military and defense spending and still need to come up with about another $4.4 trillion a year to pay for Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s big government pipe dreams.

Even adding in all annual federal spending on health care and social security barely gets us halfway to funding just part of Cortez’s agenda.

Reality proves that just like their eponymous inspiration, emoji economics are one-dimensional. They look good on a screen, they elicit an emotion, they get attention, but that is all they have to offer.

Yet our new reality under emoji economics has created an environment where there has been more public debate around concerns over cow farts in the past two weeks than around the opioid crisis, education policy and America’s crumbling infrastructure combined.

Emoji economics wouldn’t just fail if it were ever implemented – it’s failing us now.

It’s almost as if Rep. Ocasio-Cortez is more interested in such personal exploits as landing a limited-edition comic book, than creating a stronger, safer, more prosperous America.

As long as emoji economics only get traction on Twitter and in the extreme Democratic socialist enclaves of American politics, we won’t end up burning dollars as worthless as Venezuelan Bolivars to stay warm in the cold winter nights when heating oil is a long-lost memory.

But even now, serious members of Congress should get back to the work of real American policy – and send those only interested in the self-promotion of policy by emoji to the back bench where they belong.

This piece is a Maine Examiner editorial.

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