What the conservatives conveniently left out of their rants was the part about how the sweatshirt was crafted and why it warranted the price attached to it.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) found herself the subject of yet another conservative attack on social media following the launch of her new merchandise online. One item in the collection, a gender-neutral "Tax the Rich" sweatshirt, sent Republicans into a frenzy as they instantly began picking at its apparently high price tag. According to Newsweek, the sweatshirt which originally retailed at $65 before it was marked down to $58 for preorders, was used as the perfect tool to mercilessly criticize the congresswoman who has often decried the downfalls of capitalism.
"At $58.00 for a sweatshirt, you're not taxing the rich, you're overcharging the stupid," wrote Twitter user Darryl K, who describes himself as a "Proud American Patriot" in his bio. "Nothing says 'I fight for the little guy' like charging $65 for a sweatshirt," tweeted one Mr. Daniel Tobin, taking a dig at AOC's support for Democratic Socialism, a political philosophy shared by former 2020 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Brigitte Gabriel — founder and chairman of the right-wing, anti-Muslim group ACT for America — also had something to say about the New York Congresswoman selling a $58 sweatshirt, referring to it as " the definition of tone-deaf."
"[AOC is] railing against capitalism by literally engaging in it," said former National Rifle Association spokeswoman Dana Loesch, while the conservative media company PragerU tweeted: "Honestly, AOC nailed it with the $58 'tax the rich' sweatshirt. Elites telling working-class people they're fighting for them and then ripping them off is Marxism 101." The social media trolling rallied on with the likes of Fox News contributor Lisa Marie Boothe tweeting: "Still laughing about AOC selling ridiculously expensive swag that says “Tax the rich.” That pretty much sums it all up right there. What percentage of AOC fans do we think are extremely wealthy?"
This is exactly what I figure Leonard Bernstein and his glitterati would be wearing while hanging out with the Black Panthers in his Upper East Side NYC penthouse -- great work, @AOC pic.twitter.com/InXpRum0iH— Harry Khachatrian (@Harry1T6) December 3, 2020
What the conservatives conveniently left out of their rants was the part about how the sweatshirt was crafted and why it warranted the price attached to it. The product description page of the sweatshirt — which now reads "as complained about on Fox News" — reveals that it is a "Made in USA, Union printed, 100 percent cotton, Gender neutral fit." Stephen Punwasi, a self-described "former mass-market apparel designer" took it upon himself to explain why the item is more expensive than what you might find in Walmart bargain bins. "Made in America. Union printed. Sounds about right. That's what it costs to pay everyone a decent wage along the way," he tweeted, referring to the common and unethical practice of brands manufacturing their products overseas where labor is cheaper compared to the United States and workers are forced to essentially slave in unfavorable or harmful conditions.
Everyone: @AOC is selling a "tax the rich" sweatshirt for $58! That's way too expensive.— Stephen Punwasi (@StephenPunwasi) December 3, 2020
Me, a former mass market apparel designer: Made in America. Union printed. Sounds about right. That's what it costs to pay everyone a decent wage along the way. #TaxTheRich pic.twitter.com/afPZ6quQmZ
Make it in a foreign sweatshop, at MOQ 100,000, with factories cramped so tight they sometimes burn down and take the whole workforce with it?— Stephen Punwasi (@StephenPunwasi) December 3, 2020
You can sell it at a local mega grocery store for $12.
these were made in the US by unionized workers who are paid living wages, thats sounds like supporting the little guy to me— brubo (@brungini) December 3, 2020
AOC retweeted Punwasi, adding: "Republicans are freaking out because we don't use slave-wage labor for merch that funds grassroots organizing. But what’s the difference between Trump’s merch and ours? Ours is made in the US. (And for GOP who joke that we should give for free, we actually do - just volunteer). Oh, and by the way: Tax the Rich." Although it was a badass comeback from the 31-year-old, it must be noted that her tweet isn't entirely true. A fact-check conducted by USA Today in September determined that the majority of the official MAGA merchandise is made in the US, while those manufactured by third-party vendors typically are not.
It’s true. I worked an AOC event in LA, met her, worked hard and got the most comfy shirt for free 💛 https://t.co/pCIQojPo7y— Kathy Sue Holtorf (@KathySue17) December 3, 2020
Wait until they zoom in and see “Gender neutral fit” phew! RIP your mentions.— Chasten Buttigieg (@Chasten) December 3, 2020
On the other hand, we also don't see any conservatives complaining about the price tags attached to Trump's merch which are similar — in some cases higher — than AOC's. For example, an average t-shirt on the president’s website retails for $30 while the Congresswoman charges just $27. Also worth noting is that a "Keep America Great" hoodie from his campaign shop is priced at $55; $3 dollars less than the apparently overpriced "Tax the Rich" sweatshirt.