Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said on Tuesday that the U.S. cannot call itself an “advanced society” until it guarantees the right to housing, health care, and education, adding that the state of housing in the U.S. is “barbarism.”
“Holla if you’re paying too much for rent!” Ocasio-Cortez said to a crowd, according to a NowThis video posted Tuesday. “You are, and it is extortion”:
The New York lawmaker decried the state of housing in the U.S. and blasted the “totally inhumane” conditions of public housing. She called for “a complete overhaul of our housing policy and our housing system in the United States of America” on the grounds that housing is a “human right.”
“It is time that we stop commodifying the housing market because it is not a speculative investment. It is a basic right for all Americans,” she said, accusing the rich of using the market to “launder their money”:
It’s beyond time that we stop using our housing market as a place for the rich to launder their money, and for the global one percent to launder their funds when people are sleeping on the streets, when there are hundreds and thousands of empty apartments with the lights out all the time in cities across America.
Housing – along with free health care and free education – must be implemented, otherwise, the U.S. cannot call itself an “advanced society,” Ocasio-Cortez declared.
“But until we do not guarantee the right to housing, until we do not guarantee health care care and education, we cannot call ourselves an advanced society,” she stated.
“It’s a basic right along with education and health care,” she continued. “Once we get these basics covered, then our country can earn the right to call ourselves an advanced society.”
“What we are experiencing right now in housing in the United States is barbarism. It’s Barbarism. It is backwards. It is holding us back until we fix it,” she added.
Her plan to address the issue includes giving those facing eviction “guaranteed access” to counsel “so that every person has a lawyer before a person tries to kick them out.” She also calls to overhaul the housing stock to “decarbonize it” so that “every person lives in a clean building, in an apartment that does not emit lead, that does not have dirty air, and that is also good for our environment, that guarantees our children’s future.”
“This is basic,” she added.