Even the mainstream liberal media is waking up to the fact that the Democrats’ fledgling socialist starlet has very little steak behind the sizzle. With the certified Brooklyn bimbo Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez getting ready to take office in January, the Washington Post was forced – no doubt reluctantly – to fact-check a recent tweet she made about how America could fund universal healthcare.
“$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,” she tweeted on December 2.
Powerful stuff, if true. Key word being “if.”
As the Washington Post’s resident fact-checker, Glenn Kessler, pointed out on Tuesday, however, it isn’t. It is, in fact, just another sign that the bartender-turned-superstar doesn’t know what the hell she’s talking about. They traced Ocasio-Cortez’s claim back to a Nation article in which Michigan State University economist Mark Skidmore shows that there were $21 trillion in accounting adjustments at the Pentagon between 1998 and 2015 that could not be tied to any supporting documentation. In other words, there are no specific transactions in the records that can account for this money.
However, that doesn’t mean we could have magically used all of that money to fund Medicare-for-all.
Regardless, in the situation Skidmore is describing, the $21 trillion is not one big pot of dormant money collecting dust somewhere. It’s the sum of all transactions — both inflows and outflows — for which the Defense Department did not have adequate documentation. “The same dollar could be accounted for many times,” as Philip Klein wrote in the Washington Examiner.
Skidmore’s paper clearly talks about Pentagon “assets” and “liabilities.” This key distinction was duly noted in the Nation article that Ocasio-Cortez referenced on Twitter.
But it did not appear in her tweet, which clearly implied that the $21 trillion could have been used to pay for 66 percent of the $32 trillion in estimated Medicare-for-All costs.
After Twitter users pointed out to Ocasio-Cortez that she was talking out of her “wherever,” she insisted that she was simply making a rhetorical point. “To clarify,” she wrote, “this is to say that we only demand fiscal details [with health and education], rarely elsewhere.”
“To clarify, this is to say that we only demand fiscal details [with health and education], rarely elsewhere,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a follow-up tweet.
Kessler wasn’t buying it.
“Ocasio-Cortez is not the first Twitter user to mangle information from a news report,” he wrote. “But it’s unconvincing to try to pass this off as a rhetorical point being misread. She cited the $21 trillion figure and said ‘66% of Medicare for All could have been funded already by the Pentagon.’ That’s a direct comparison. It’s badly flawed. The same article she referenced on Twitter would have set her straight. The tweet is still up, probably causing confusion. So we will award Four Pinocchios to Ocasio-Cortez.”
We have a feeling, given her propensity to make foolish statements grounded in misinformation and ignorance, it won’t be the last such award Ocasio-Cortez receives over the next two years.