'It's a physical impossibility to lift yourself up by a bootstrap': Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez argues everyone needs help to succeed
- Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez blasted the idea of "pulling yourself up by your bootstraps."
- The progressive lawmaker argued nobody succeeds alone, and some people have advantages over others.
- "It's a physical impossibility to lift yourself up by a bootstrap, by your shoelaces," she tweeted.
- Ocasio-Cortez said it would be "narcissistic" to claim she bootstrapped her way into office.
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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez dismissed the idea of "pulling yourself up by your bootstraps" this week, arguing nobody succeeds without help or support, and many Americans face an uneven playing field.
"It's a physical impossibility to lift yourself up by a bootstrap, by your shoelaces," the freshman lawmaker known as AOC said during a House of Representatives committee meeting, according to a Public Citizen video she retweeted. "The whole thing is a joke."
After conservatives slammed her comments, the progressive firebrand tweeted a NBC News video of Martin Luther King criticizing the concept of bootstrapping for African-Americans. The civil rights leader argued slavery, segregation, and stigmatization left many of them "bootless."
"I believe we ought to do all we can and seek to lift ourselves by our own bootstrap," King said in the clip. However, he added, "It's a cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he ought to lift himself up by his own bootstraps."
Ocasio-Cortez doubled down, firing off three more tweets on the subject.
In the first one, she questioned whether Republicans would call it bootstrapping if someone attended public school, enlisted in the government-funded military, received a tax break to start a business or buy a home, or their parents used food assistance to feed them.
The second tweet, also directed at Republicans, queried whether it counted as bootstrapping if someone started a business with a $60 million loan from their father, or benefited from the Trump administration's $2 trillion tax break. "Asking for a corrupt president & his friends," Ocasio-Cortez added.
In the third tweet, Ocasio-Cortez pointed to her unlikely path to Congress as an example of something she couldn't have done alone.
"I worked my butt off to get elected against all odds, without any special connections or money," she wrote. "I worked double shifts and wore through my shoes, outspent 10:1 to get elected."
"Even w/ all that hard work, it would be narcissistic to pretend I 'bootstrapped' it alone and w/o others," she added.
Ocasio-Cortez's comments come as Democratic presidential candidates including Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and billionaire Michael Bloomberg campaign on reducing wealth inequality.
Other high-profile figures have sounded the alarm on the wealth gap: Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates, one of the world's richest people, said "the rich should pay more" in a New Year's blog post.
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