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AOC’s shoplifting myth vs. real harm on the poor

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez once again constructs a Dickensian fantasy world where every criminal is a saint, and every police action unfair.

“It’s much easier to frame people who steal baby formula and medicine as monsters to be jailed than acknowledge our politics and economic priorities create conditions where people steal baby formula to survive,” she tweeted in response to the NYPD arresting 12 shoplifters in The Bronx.

That is of course not the truth. Single mothers stealing diapers and formula are not the drivers of increased shoplifting. Does she really think New York’s progressive DAs and judges would even prosecute such a case? No, they’d steer the woman to any one of the dozens of government programs intended to help poor parents — the WIC supplemental nutrition program, SNAP, food assistance, and that’s just the federal programs. 

No, many of these cases are mass shopliftings, people who grab armfuls of popular goods to sell on the street and turn a black-market profit. The arrests she complained about were for $1,800 worth of household goods. 

These end up on blankets on street corners, on eBay, sold for a fraction of the price (because the cost was zero). Win, win, right AOC?

Shoplifters destroy New York City’s economy by forcing retailers to flee.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Except then the grocery stores and the pharmacies decide it’s no longer worth having an outlet there and close. Empty storefronts feed more despair, more unrest. There are fewer jobs. Quality of life decreases. And who suffers? The poor.



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