Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is one of the few people criticizing New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for his handling of the coronavirus crisis. The Congresswoman recently appeared on radio and slammed the governor for suspending mortgage payments but not suspending rent for New Yorkers.
Homeowners have a 90-day reprieve from mortgage payments if they are suffering from financial hardship, and Ocasio-Cortez says that gives preferential treatment to wealthier New Yorkers while leaving those who are struggling financially to scramble to pay their rent.
“If you called for a suspension or moratorium on mortgage payments, then we should also call for that same treatment on rent payments,” Ocasio-Cortez said on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show. “We’re kind of creating a class and race issue. We’re essentially rewarding and offering preferential treatment to landowners and folks who are more wealthy, and we’re not offering that same kind of relief to renters.
“Even just from an economic perspective, it’s not responsible to ignore this problem… There’s absolutely racial and class inequities baked into the crisis. If you are able to stay home, you are a privileged person in this moment.”
It is a legitimate concern with a number of workers being laid off, those in the service industry unable to go to work, and many others seeing their salaries slashed.
Unfortunately for AOC, it doesn’t look like suspending rent payments will become a reality anytime soon.
In the meantime, New Yorkers — other than “essential workers” — will be on lockdown until the coronavirus pandemic is under control.