New York Democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez portrays herself as "a normal, working person," but one of her positions may have helped 150 people lose their jobs.
After enduring mockery for declaring Sunday that a walk in a national park was an example of democratic socialism, Ocasio-Cortez lamented Monday the shutting down of an iconic New York coffee shop that closed mostly due to a higher minimum wage – which Ocasio-Cortez supported.
“The restaurant I used to work at is closing its doors. I swung by today to say hi one last time, and kid around with friends like old times,” the congressional candidate reminisced on Twitter. “I’m a normal, working person who chose to run for office, because I believe we can have a better future.”
The Coffee Shop in Union Square, which became especially famous after regularly appearing on HBO’s “Sex and the City,” will close down this fall after nearly 28 years in business. Co-owner and President Charles Milite announced the decision to shut the doors to its 150 employees last month.
But unlike what Ocasio-Cortez wants you to believe about the closing down, it wasn’t the result of greedy capitalists trying to squeeze the workers, but rather government regulations that forced the company to go bust.
“The times have changed in our industry,” Milite told the New York Post last month. “The rents are very high and now the minimum wage is going up and we have a huge number of employees.”
"The times have changed in our industry ... the rents are very high and now the minimum wage is going up and we have a huge number of employees."
Ocasio-Cortez, who rose to prominence after defeating top Democrat Joe Crowley in the party’s primary election in June, has campaigned on the issue of minimum wage, arguing for a $15 federal minimum wage, up from $7.25, insisting that it won’t have any negative consequences for businesses.
During her appearance on “The Daily Show” with Trevor Noah, Ocasio-Cortez was pressed whether her suggestion of $15 minimum wage wouldn’t tank the economy. She cited the example of Seattle, which voted four years ago to gradually increase the hourly minimum to $15 over several years.
Yet Seattle is a troubling case, as research from the University of Washington's School of Public Policy and Governance found that the higher minimum wage led to significant job declines and actually left the poorest worst off in the city, the Washington Post reported.
The study estimated that low-wage jobs in the city dropped by 9 percent since 2016 and “hourly wages in such jobs increased by around 3 percent.” As a result, the study said, the city’s average worker lost $125 a month thanks to the minimum wage hike.