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AOC Had Student Debt While Calling for Student Debt Cancellation 

AOC. Image Credit: YouTube Screenshot.

In a bizarre attempt at a gotcha, Fox News notes that the New York Congresswoman held student debt while calling for debt cancellation. But AOC has been open about holding debt.

AOC’s Latest So-Called Controversy 

One of the parts of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY)’s appeal, when she first entered politics, was that she was more of a regular person than most who run for Congress.

She had worked not that long before, after all, as a bartender.

When she arrived in Washington, she talked about how difficult it was to find an affordable apartment on her Congressional salary. 

Fox News, this week, in what appeared to be an attempt at a gotcha, pointed out that AOC, while arguing for student debt cancellation, was carrying student debt herself. 

“The New York lawmaker’s recently released financial disclosure shows she maintained between $15,001 and $50,000 in student loan debt in 2022,” Fox said in its story. “During this time, the progressive champion, who collects a $174,000 salary as a U.S. House of Representatives member, consistently advocated for actions that would also directly benefit herself.” 

This is a strange charge to levy because, for one thing, AOC has been open in the past about having student loan debt. In 2021, she stated that she held $17,000 in student loan debt at the time- within the context of her arguing for student loan forgiveness, and arguing against the tactics of the student loan business. 

Ocasio-Cortez has never hid the fact that she feels this way about this issue, in part, because she has personal experience with it, and doesn’t want others to have to deal with the same thing. It’s not as though she hid her own student debt while arguing for debt cancellation- in contrast, she did the exact opposite and made it part of her pitch. 

Democrats are often accused of hypocrisy, and called “limousine liberals,” when they are themselves wealthy. This example shows that this is also the case for Democrats who are less than wealthy. It’s not as though wealthy people who are members of Congress don’t frequently vote for tax cuts that would benefit themselves. 

It’s also worth noting that Rep. Ocasio-Cortez has called for much more cancellation of student debt than the Biden Administration has pushed for and that her version of that debt cancellation is highly unlikely to become law, at least in the current Congress. 

“It was YOUR pushing, YOUR pressure, YOUR organizing that got them to this point,” Ocasio-Cortez said on Instagram, following the announcement of Biden’s student debt forgiveness plan, which has since been struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court. “It is up to us, and to you, to decide if we are going to stop here, or if we are going to keep pushing.”

And despite all sorts of insinuations to the contrary, AOC has not become wealthy during her brief time in public life. 

Politifact, earlier this year, pushed back against a Facebook post alleging that Rep. Ocasio-Cortez now has a net worth of $29 million. That figure, frequently repeated on the Internet, is far off the mark. 

“Ocasio-Cortez’s latest financial disclosure report, filed Sept. 12, 2022, showed assets amounting to $4,004 to $60,000. It listed four assets — one savings account, one checking account, one brokerage account, and a 401(k) plan. Each asset ranges from $1,000 to $15,000,” Politifact said. 

Her own website echoed the claims, citing a Reuters fact check while quoting a Forbes source as stating that the magazine has never listed AOC’s net worth as $29 million. 

AOC has been known to wear expensive clothes for the occasional magazine photoshoot, but in those things, the people photographed do not pay for the clothes themselves, nor do they get to keep them. 

The Congresswoman, last week, spoke out about an issue that doesn’t often come up in American politics: The ineffectiveness of the type of sunscreen sold in the United States. 

Author Expertise and Experience:

Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Stephen has authored thousands of articles over the years that focus on politics, technology, and the economy for over a decade. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

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Written By

Stephen Silver is a journalist, essayist, and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review, and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.