Talk about being hypocritical…
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) demanded that American taxpayers pay the bill to bail out New York City taxi drivers who took out loans to pay for taxi medallion expenses that the Democrat-led city government artificially inflated.
“These taxi drivers need a bailout because this is not just about predatory collection practices … this is manufactured financial indentured servitude and it is wrong,” Ocasio-Cortez argued during a congressional hearing on lending. “We need to bailout these drivers, and I would like to invite my colleagues here on the federal level and our partners on the city level to make sure they get the job done.”
In the Big Apple, taxi cab drivers are required to have a medallion to function legally in the town. The government of New York City has been artificially restricting the amount of medallions it will issue to avoid a surplus of cabs. Only 13,587 medallions have been released since the program first started in 1937.
Taxi drivers in NYC are in crisis. They are trapped in a predatory lending scheme that steals their earnings and has led to a suicide crisis.
We must bail them out. Yesterday, we held a Congressional hearing to hear from drivers and advocates for reform ⬇ pic.twitter.com/6qSG66pdFN
— Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@RepAOC) September 27, 2019
As such, the artificial scarcity generated by the Democrat-led government in New York City has skyrocketed the cost of obtaining a medallion — a medallion’s price soared to over $1 million before the bubble burst in late 2014. In order to continue operating their cabs, many taxi drivers were compelled to carry out loans with heavy charges or interest-only payments. According to The New York Times, more than 950 riders have since filed for bankruptcy.
The self-proclaimed radical congresswoman, referring to government help as “a matter of life or death,” quoted a New York Times report detailing a black-car driver who complained on social media that the rise in ride sharing facilities led him to work 100 hours a week to make a living. He then drove to the city hall in New York and shot himself in front of the building.
“Regulatory agencies knew, the city knew, and these suicides are not just an indirect side effect, they are a direct consequence of the neglect of a vulnerable community in New York City,” Ocasio-Cortez exclaimed. “In fact, we have accounts reported right here by The New York Times: one of the drivers drove in front of city hall himself, wrote a note on Facebook saying he could not continue to live, and killed himself right in front of city hall. And we are ignoring this crisis.”
The New York congresswoman’s call for the federal government to bail taxi cab drivers arises after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio refused to do so due to the high price to the city. The mayor’s office claims a bailout could cost up to $13 billion to New Yorkers.
“This, I think, is a matter of financial malpractice and predatory behavior that I think in many ways should be a national scandal,” Ocasio-Cortez stated at the hearing. “It is literally killing people.”