Ocasio-Cortez Tries To Raid Pentagon’s ‘Undocumented’ Funds To Cover Medicare For All

Virginia Kruta | Associate Editor

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.

Democratic Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York talks with reporters as she arrives for a class photo with incoming newly elected members of the U.S. House of Representatives on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., November 14, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Democratic Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York talks with reporters as she arrives for a class photo with incoming newly elected members of the U.S. House of Representatives on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., November 14, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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. (RELATED: Report Seems To Undermine Ocasio Cortez Claim To Not Be Able To Afford D.C. Apartment)

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.

Or they could have been reported amounts that “do not reflect the Pentagon’s actual spending behavior.”

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.”

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.

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