One of the greatest criticisms of President Donald Trump from the media is that he sometimes seems to not know when to shut his mouth or seems incapable of doing so.
But while Trump has said a few things — OK, more than a few things — that wouldn’t have escaped my mouth, I don’t necessarily think that this is unintentional. He seems to be a man who’s in command of what he’s saying and has a reason behind why he’s saying it, even if you or I may not agree with it.
If we do want to talk about individuals who embody the platonic ideal of the gaffe-prone politician, however, we might want to discuss Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, everyone’s favorite Bronx Democrat and idiocy-creating machine.
Fresh off the claim that the 22nd Amendment was created to stop a dead president from running again, Ocasio-Cortez decided to complain about the price of airport croissants and tried to use it to complain about minimum wage, albeit not the way you might be thinking.
Some of you might see where this is headed, but I’m going to go there anyway.
In a Monday tweet, Ocasio-Cortez complained, “Croissants at LaGuardia are going for SEVEN DOLLARS A PIECE,” replete with the Edvard Munch scream-face emoji.
And then, of course, the kicker: “Yet some people think getting a whole hour of personal, dedicated human labor for $15 is too expensive??”
This is arguably the least self-aware invocation of the croissant since that infamous Kanye West couplet. First off, I mean, you’re in New York City’s worst airport. I haven’t been through commercial aviation’s version of purgatory in about 10 years but I distinctly remember it being the sort of place where Sbarro was considered fine dining — and priced accordingly.
But therein lies the problem: Why is that croissant so expensive? Well, perhaps we can start with the fact that the current minimum wage for small employers in Gotham is $13.50 and $15.00 for large employers. I don’t know how many people are employed by the particular pastry-hawker she bought a seven-buck croissant from, but either way, they’re paying high labor costs, which is part of the reason why it’s so expensive.
And, as the Washington Examiner’s Tiana Lowe pointed out about the AOC tweet, the minimum wage isn’t the only reason government intervention makes for expensive croissants.\
“Let’s start with the very reason why airports can charge exorbitant prices for garbage food: the very absence of the free market, caused mainly by a captive passenger market and government regulation,” she wrote Monday.
“Closed venues will always feature higher prices than open markets. On your way to work, you can choose between Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, or even your local bodega to pick up a cup of coffee for a few dollars. Yet, if you’re at a concert venue, a place that you as a consumer have voluntarily chosen, the venue sets the prices because consumer demand is mostly elastic. Sure, you can pick up an 18-pack of Bud Light at a liquor store for less than a buck a beer, but a concert venue knows jacking up the price of a beer from $5 to $8 probably won’t dissuade you buying one during a show.
“Airports work roughly the same way, but government intervention exacerbates the elasticity issue by imposing a number of barriers to entry for vendors. There’s the obvious issue of finding enough staff to fill 18-hour work days, seven days per week willing to spend half an hour just to get from the parking lot to work, but various cities impose arbitrary fines, licensing, and yes, minimum wage requirements that make it next to impossible to break even,” she continued.
“They range from the inane (the TSA requires butcher knives in airport kitchens to be tethered and repeatedly subject to inventory) to the outright corrupt. For example, the city of Atlanta had to pay $300,000 to one company alone in 2012 after they were sued for playing politics with issuing an artificially low number of concessions contracts to cronies. The federal government complicates things even further, competing with local governments, with the Department of Transportation offering a leg up to qualifying vendors under the Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program.”
Ocasio-Cortez constantly talks about the fact that she’s an economics major and that means She Knows What She’s Talking About, particularly comes with the Green New Deal. Yet, this complaint about her croissant evinces a high-school level of economic knowledge at best.
There isn’t any particular set point to how much a croissant is worth. If it’s in a closed venue where you don’t have much choice, material transportation cost is high and you have a high labor cost, a croissant could very well cost $7 or more.
Prices are a function of the costs necessary to create and sell products.
That’s not an argument to raise the minimum wage. In fact, it’s a powerful argument against it, considering it significantly raises the cost to sell a product.
Furthermore, since when has airport food been cheap? In what imagined past have Americans not been charged exorbitant amounts of money for garbage food while they waited for their connecting flight? And what kind of mentality does it take to go to Twitter and complain about it?
As Lowe pointed out, every airport has a McDonald’s, which has something resembling a dollar menu (at least as airport prices are concerned). Like any other poor 20-something (well, Ocasio-Cortez is hardly indigent anymore, but that’s a story for another day), she could have gotten a cheeseburger from there.
Healthy? No, but neither is a croissant.
All of this sounds like the rant of a teenager and an object lesson in why we don’t see many young people in Congress. She’s not just a socialist, she’s an immature socialist. And yet, this is the party that wants 16-year-olds to vote, too.
I guess perhaps they identify with them.