At this point, where defunding the police and encouraging protests is all the rage, it is not surprising in the least that New York Representative and leading “squad” member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez supports both causes. What is surprising to me is how incredibly ignorant she can be about it all, and therefore how easily caught off guard when faced with reality.
On Wednesday, the liberal lawmaker appeared for a segment of Good Morning America with host George Stephanopoulos. Naturally, the current national issues mentioned above were brought up. But when AOC was asked about how it would work, not only does she not answer the question, but actually changes the subject slightly, as if to sidestep it entirely.
The conversation began with Stephanopoulos asking AOC about Biden’s recent announcement not to support the “defunding” efforts of the left. This put the freshman lawmaker in somewhat of a tough position, as she has publicly endorsed Biden and his policies but just as clearly doesn’t agree with him on his decision about police reform.
However, like an astute politician, she weaseled her way out of it. She didn’t directly criticize her party’s assumed nominee. Instead, she suggested that the current budget plans for her city are not in line with what the residents actually want or need. for instance, she proposed that instead of spending so much on police and law enforcement, the city should give higher priority to social programs, which, as she says, can “prevent crime and social discord.”
Stephanopoulos questions her further about this, saying that while he understands the need for such social programs, studies suggest that police are a necessary force.
He said, “I understand the argument you’re making about expanding social services and investing in social services but the research does show that more police on the street means less crime.”
And this is where AOC shows her idiocy, or at the very least her ability to lie.
She responded, “Well, I think there’s one question that is interesting here is that, when it comes to funds, it’s not always just about the number of officers in the street. It’s about these police precincts that have tanks, that have military weaponry and frankly have a degree of – that have a degree of material resources and war-like weaponry that people ask ‘why does a local police precinct have this in the first place?’”
Notice how she seemed to change the topic a bit. Stephanopoulos is asking her about how defunding the police, which will inevitably force a cut in the workforce on the police department, result in less crime when data shows otherwise.
And she answers that cutting tanks is the real problem.
There are a few things I have to point out here.
Firstly, is that Stephanopoulos’s reference to data supporting more feet on the ground equals less crime is, in fact, accurate.
Vox gives a beautiful example of such data in a 2019 piece.
“In a 2005 paper, Jonathan Glick and Alex Tabarrok found a clever instrument to measure the effects of officer increases through the terrorism ‘alert levels’ that were a feature of the early to mid-aughts. During high alert periods, the Washington, DC, police force would mobilize extra officers, especially in and around the capital’s core, centered on the National Mall. Using daily crime date, they found that the level of crime decreased significantly on high-alert days, and the decrease was especially concentrated on the National Mall.”
As Vox pointed out, “the finding was not that adding more police officers leads to more arrests and then locking up crooks leads to lower crime in the long run. It’s simply that with more officers around, fewer people commit crimes in the first place.”
And isn’t that the point? The whole idea of implementing a police force is to keep the peace. And if studies suggest more boots on the ground do that, then I’d think, as a city official or member of congress, you would do precisely that.
But AOC doesn’t. Instead, she complains about tanks.
According to financial records for the current fiscal year, there isn’t any room in the budget for tanks. Nearly $6 billion was allocated for the NYPD, coming in third behind the Department of Education and Department of Social Services. And of that, 88.8% “covered personnel services (salaries, wages, and overtime.”
Cutting police funding means cutting officer jobs, plain and simple. It was also noted that funding for the NYPD only makes up 6% of the entire city budget. Meanwhile, the union contracts for pension contributions get $5 billion a year.
So what exactly should we be cutting?