Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez might want her followers to believe inflation is “propaganda” — but her constituents aren’t buying it.
The firebrand Democratic congresswoman used her Instagram stories to share a video from New Zealand’s left-wing Aotearoa Liberation League in which an activist claimed the “propaganda” surrounding inflation was designed to protect “greedy shareholders,” who are truly to blame for the rising cost of living.
But when The Post visited Ocasio-Cortez’s constituents in the 14th district, which comprises areas in both Queens and in the southeastern part of the Bronx, all of them reported economic pain and many said the Biden administration should not be left off the hook.
The White House has repeatedly touted its “Bidenomics” plan to combat soaring prices.
Latisha Law, 41, a certified nursing assistant, single mother of three, and grandmother, paused outside Key Food in the Castle Hill area of the Bronx to say she was struggling financially since the pandemic.
Inflation is real — and the fault lies as much with the government as big corporations, Law told The Post.
“Is AOC crazy?” Law said. “Has she been to a grocery store recently? $1,000 ain’t nothing no more. $100 ain’t nothing no more. Maybe she should spend some time in the projects and really help people.”
Law, like the majority of Bronx and Queens residents interviewed by The Post, did not really know much about Ocasio-Cortez.
Most asked who she was and could not really seem to identify her but all agreed that they are paying almost twice as much for the same amount of groceries and other essentials.
A number reported getting into serious credit card debt because of their struggle to pay bills.
“I’m working two jobs just to survive,” Law told the Post. “I kill myself just to feed my family. It’s much worse now than it was before the pandemic.”
Iris Vasquez, 61, who lives across from Key Food in the Castle Hill Houses, was taking her great-granddaughter, Cali, 2, out for a walk when The Post asked her about what she thought of the video AOC had shared with the world.
Vasquez shook her head.
“I think what the government did was take advantage of the pandemic,” she said. “You can’t put this all on big companies. Prices went up high then and they’ve stayed high. I think it was just an excuse to make us spend more money.
“I had to pay ten dollars for eggs at one point! Sometimes I have to go all the way to the Food Bazaar near Yankee Stadium to get better prices but then I have to Uber back. I don’t think inflation has ever been this bad.”
Sergio Acevedo, 51, of the Bronx, pointed to his cart as he wheeled it out of another Bronx supermarket.
“See that?” he said. “I used to be able to buy twice as much food for the same price I paid today. I buy less now and make do. Inflation is worse than ever.”
Jean Torres, 72, a retired schoolteacher and Bronx resident of Puerto Rican descent, said that inflation is so bad that some of her children have to pay for some essentials by putting them on credit cards.
“AOC does not represent true Hispanic beliefs or values,” Torres told The Post. “Puerto Ricans have traditional family values which she does not represent.
This is why the Latino vote is veering away from her and other Democrats and going for Trump.
“And for her to act as if inflation being something other than the government’s fault? Well since I don’t have someone to pay for my $30,000 dress for a gala like she did, it’s much easier for me to see the truth.”
In 2021, Ocasio-Cortez famously wore a white gown by Brother Vellies with “Tax the Rich” in red letters splashed across her back and accessorized with a matching slogan on her bag to the Met Gala.
“AOC should not be in Congress,” Torres said. “She’s not helping us, she’s hurting us with her rhetoric and her policies.”
Torres said she was a lifelong Democrat but left the party a few years ago.
She said her whole family now votes Republican and said she would like Trump to win the presidency again.
Ellis Olive, a retired paramedic, and Bronx resident, said he lives on a fixed income and that inflation has severely limited how much food he can buy.
“Everyone I know is living paycheck to paycheck now,” Olive, who declined to give his age, told The Post.
“I have to put $300 to $400 on a credit card every month but fortunately I’m able to pay it off in full. A lot of people can’t. AOC should get out here and talk to people and see how bad it’s gotten.
“Prices have gotten insane and someone needs to do something about it. The economy is a mess and just calling it all ‘propaganda’ is ridiculous.”
In East Elmhurst and parts of Jackson Heights in Queens, which AOC also represents, her constituents echoed those in the Bronx.
Ranu Debi, 33, the mother of two kids, said her family has been forced to use credit cards to pay for essentials like groceries.
“The interest can be so high, 25 or 30 percent,” Debi said while playing with her kids at a playground. “Rent and food is killing us. Before we’d go to Costco and $200 would buy what we need. Now we have to spend $400 to get the same stuff we got for $200 just a few years ago. It’s very tough.”
A 20-year-old College of the Atlantic student who gave his name as Karma and moved to Corona with his family a few years ago from Bhutan told The Post he’s seen a rapid jump in inflation in just the past two years.
“We didn’t have credit cards in Bhutan but here I have to use them to make ends meet,” Karma said. “I use a Visa card from Chase. It’s been crazy to see prices rise so much in such a short amount of time. Everything is expensive now. It’s very strange to see this in such a rich country.”
Manny Grima, 55, is American-born but he too said he has been shocked at the rise in the cost of living recently.
“I had to cash in my 401K,” Grima said while shopping in Jackson Heights Thursday. “The last few years have been very rough. You go in a store with $100 and it buys almost nothing. I don’t understand why (AOC) isn’t taking this more seriously.”