Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has stepped in it yet again. This time firmly planting her foot in her big mouth. The woman is math-challenged. She is claiming that $21 trillion in Pentagon ‘undocumented’ funds would fund two-thirds of the 10-year cost of Medicare For All. First off, $21 trillion is the entire debt of the US so she seems to be saying that the military is responsible for all of our current debt which is ridiculous.
Bloomberg reporter Steven Dennis summed it up in just three words: “Very bad math.” He should have also added ‘very misinformed’ to that assessment. She gets her numbers from the radical leftist ‘The Nation’ publication which is known for being inaccurate. This number is erroneous on its face but it also does not take into account the going out and coming in of money. In other words, accounting. The only thing that Ocasio-Cortez excels at is being monstrously and embarrassingly wrong. The Daily Caller has more on this nuttery:
Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez claimed that two-thirds of the 10-year cost of Medicare For All could be covered with the money that was not properly documented by the Pentagon — but an expert in the field begged to differ.
Citing a report from The Nation that alleged $21 trillion in discrepancies in the Pentagon’s accounting, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, “$21 TRILLION of Pentagon financial transactions ‘could not be traced, documented, or explained.’” She then suggested that the “undocumented” funds could have covered two-thirds of the cost of her proposed Medicare expansion.
$21 TRILLION of Pentagon financial transactions “could not be traced, documented, or explained.”
$21T in Pentagon accounting errors. Medicare for All costs ~$32T.
That means 66% of Medicare for All could have been funded already by the Pentagon.
And that’s before our premiums. https://t.co/soT6GSmDSG
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) December 2, 2018
But according to Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Brian Riedl — whose credentials include over a decade at the Heritage Foundation and six years as chief economist for Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman — Ocasio-Cortez’s math isn’t just sketchy: it’s downright impossible.
Wow. You claim $21 Trillion in Pentagon Waste? The entire Pentagon budget from 1789-2018 has totaled $18 trillion,
Come on, This is embarrassing. https://t.co/ezdhqWQFyc
— Brian Riedl (@Brian_Riedl) December 2, 2018
What both The Nation and Ocasio-Cortez failed to acknowledge is the fact that the alleged “accounting errors” may not have all been one-way (i.e. they could have been mistakes in documenting either incoming or outgoing funds. Or both). Riedl also noted that each dollar could have been “counted” multiple times.
For those wondering:
In the original study, $21 trillion refers to transfers back-and-forth between accounts. So the same $1 can be counted 1000's of times. It *does not* mean that $21 trillion in total spending was mis-spent.
AOC should have realized $21T *spent* is crazy.
— Brian Riedl (@Brian_Riedl) December 3, 2018
Or they could have been reported amounts that “do not reflect the Pentagon’s actual spending behavior.”
This is a wild misinterpretation of the Nation article. A key point of the article is these reported amounts do not reflect the Pentagon’s actual spending behavior. https://t.co/O3w6m1kBdV
— Josh Barro (@jbarro) December 2, 2018
Further, Ocasio-Cortez gave no consideration to the possibility that a failure to properly document the transaction was not proof positive that the transaction was unnecessary.
Bloomberg reporter Steven Dennis summed it up in just three words: “Very bad math.”
Very bad math. https://t.co/1IHq4FPATM
— Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) December 2, 2018
Not to mention the fact the national debt only reached $21T in 2018. Using Ocasio-Cortez’s math, one could argue that the nation’s debt is entirely attributable to the Pentagon’s inability to keep proper records.
This is not the first time Ocasio-Cortez has proposed a “solution” that suggests a fundamental misunderstanding of the problem. Just one week earlier, the Congresswoman-elect had suggested that sending 5,000 caseworkers to the border, where migrants were throwing rocks and bottles at Border Patrol officers, we could eliminate the need for troops.