AOC’s Impact Towards The Met Gala


Jun Lu

The controversial “Tax the Rich” dress representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wore to this year’s Met Gala.

Leah Fleurinor, Staff Writer

The 2021 Met Gala was on September 13, at the Metropolitan Museum of New York. The Met Gala is the “fashion world equivalent of the Oscars.” Designers, models, and Hollywood stars from across the globe show off their extravagant looks to fundraise and celebrate a new exhibit from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute.

Every year, there’s always a theme, and this year’s was all things “American fashion.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, also known as AOC, is one of the United States Representatives from New York and an activist. AOC attended the Met Gala wearing a white gown with the words “Tax the Rich” in red text. Aurora James designed AOC’s dress.

Her reason for doing this was to bring more awareness to this problem and educate us about the tax policy.

According to the IPS’ analysis of data from Forbes, Bloomberg, and Wealth-X, billionaires’ net worth boosted up by 4.35 trillion between the dates March 18, 2020, and March 18, 2021. 

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, is the wealthiest person in the world. His wealth grew 57% during the course of the pandemic. It went from $113 billion to $178 billion.

In 2007, Bezos did not pay any federal income taxes; not a nickel nor a penny. In 2011, he did this again; he did not pay any taxes. Many billionaires such as Elon Musk, Michael Bloomberg, Carl Icahn, and George Soros pay no federal income taxes. 

A numerous amount of Americans live by check to check and still manage to pay their taxes. And yet, wealthy people refuse to pay taxes. The American tax system pays for the rich Americans. “The IRS records show that wealthy citizens pay income taxes that are only a small fraction of the hundreds of millions, if not the wealthiest can — perfectly legally — pay income taxes that are only a tiny fraction of the hundreds of millions, if not billions, their fortunes grow each year.”

How are these American billionaires avoiding taxes? Their wealth increases from the value of their stocks and property. Those gains are not defined by U.S. laws as taxable income unless and until the billionaires sell, according to ProPublica.

Many people know the ultra-rich are not paying taxes, but they don’t know why. Tax information is the most guarded secret in the federal government. Fortunately, ProPublica revealed individual tax information from some of the wealthiest Americans because the public needs to understand the realities of the American tax system.

Jeff Bezos’s wealth growth from 2014-2018 is $99.0 billion. The total income reported is $4.22 billion (4.26% of wealth). Total taxes paid were $23.7 million (0.10% of wealth).

After attending the Met Gala, AOC continues to post on Instagram to bring awareness towards the issue. Posting several clips on her Instagram Story answering any questions people may have, and providing article links that show the proven statistics that billionaires have in fact gotten rich during the pandemic, and go more into detail with the issue at hand.

“While frontline workers went without hazard pay and work protections during COVID, the billionaires that employed them enjoyed an unprecedented $4 trillion surged in their own wealth in ONE YEAR. Much of that hoarded wealth comes from underpaying workers and abusing market power. TAX. THE. RICH.” says AOC in an Instagram post.

It’s truly amazing how AOC chose to wear a dress that says “Tax the Rich” at the Met Gala. Having the courage to wear a dress with such a bold statement, knowing a majority of the attendees are billionaires who got richer during the pandemic is incredible.