I give up.
AOC’s 'Tax the Rich' Dress Does the Talking at New York’s Met Gala
The Democrat used the charity event — where tickets cost $35,000 each and business tycoons mingle with celebrities — to make a political statement.
September 13, 2021, 8:43 PM PDT
The emblazoned message on the white fabric was bold, blood red and on brand: TAX THE RICH.
Progressive Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez used the Met Gala — the buzziest event in the New York glitterati calendar — to make a political statement by wearing a dress with the message splashed across the back.
The message itself wasn’t surprising — Ocasio-Cortez has been one of the biggest supporters of raising taxes on the rich to help pay for more social services and narrowing the massive wealth gap between America’s rich and poor. But the latest setting in which AOC — as she is known — chose to express it drew attention.
The annual event at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art is the haunt of celebrities, designers, billionaires and various other members of the jet set that are willing to pay $35,000 a pop for the privilege to attend.
The benefit pays for the annual budget of the museum’s Costume Institute, according to the Met’s president and chief executive officer, Daniel Weiss. Justin Bieber performed at Monday’s event, which included a preview of the exhibition “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” that opens to the public on Saturday.
“We need to have a conversation in this country about working families,” Ocasio-Cortez said when asked to comment on her dress and its message.
The gown was designed by Aurora James, founder of New York shoe and handbag line Brother Vellies and the Fifteen Percent Pledge, which asks retailers to dedicate 15% of their shelves to products made by Black-owned businesses.
Ocasio-Cortez is making the statement just as deep divisions within the Democratic party are exacerbating uncertainty about the overall size and scope of President Joe Biden’s tax and spending proposals.
House Democrats on Monday released a package of tax increases that falls short of Biden’s ambition, an acknowledgment of how politically precarious the White House’s $3.5 trillion economic agenda is for party moderates. The plan also omitted the president’s proposal to impose capital gains taxes on appreciated assets held by wealthy individuals until death, ending a benefit known as “step-up in basis.”
Several House Democrats have said they won’t vote for Biden’s hoped-for $3.5 trillion spending program for education, health and climate programs if it doesn’t address the $10,000 cap on the federal deduction for state and local taxes, or SALT. But some party progressives, including Ocasio-Cortez, have called the SALT deduction a give-away to the rich because they say most of the benefits flow to high-income households.
“On message for her, she’s a political genius,” billionaire Mike Novogratz said of Ocasio-Cortez’s message at the Met gala. The founder of Galaxy Digital Holdings didn’t attend the event.
But several other of his fellow billionaires did, including Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman, Alejandro Santo Domingo — who oversees the fortune of Colombia's richest family, Joe Gebbia, co-founder of Airbnb, and Barry Diller, chairman of IAC/InterActiveCorp. None of them made a statement with their outfit.