Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a top contender for the 2020 Democratic nomination, has long criticized the wealthy. In 1971, he denounced millionaire senators as “immoral.”
But as was recently revealed with the release of his tax returns, Sanders is himself a millionaire in the Senate and part of the 1 percent he so routinely rails against … and his wealth came by way of capitalism, not the redistributionist democratic socialism he so often touts.
Sanders is a 1 percenter
An article in the Foundation for Economic Education questioned whether Sanders is a hypocrite, noting that despite Sanders’ demonization of the rich and his demand that the wealthy pay more in taxes, he himself is part of the 1% and recently scoffed at the idea of paying more in taxes.
When asked during a recent Fox News town hall-style event why he didn’t voluntarily pay more in taxes on his accumulated wealth, given his demand that the rich pay higher rates, Sanders replied, “Pfft, come on. I paid the taxes that I owe.”
Sanders’ recently achieved millionaire status came by virtue of our capitalist system via a best-selling book. Yet he espouses
Millionaire senators are “immoral”
Perhaps adding a bit more bite to the charge of hypocrisy for Sanders are his own words from nearly 50 years ago, when he railed against “immoral” millionaire senators who enriched themselves in public office while the working-class continued to struggle.
CNN uncovered Sanders’ remarks in a local Vermont newspaper, the Bennington Banner, in December 1971. At that time, Sanders unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate as part of a now-defunct socialistic party called the Liberty Union Party, a “radical political party” that sought to nationalize industry and redistribute the nation’s wealth.
According to the Banner, Sanders “said it seems ‘immoral’ to him that millionaires represent the people of their states.” He accused them of representing “the interests of corporations and big business — their fellow millionaires” instead.
He also suggested that members of Congress have their annual salaries reduced to whatever the average annual salary of workers in their respective states was at that time.
“Some animals are more equal than others”
A spokesman for Sanders issued a statement to CNN that attempted to spin the rediscovered remarks from decades ago — but there is no spinning out of this glaring example of hypocrisy.
Bernie Sanders preaches the virtues of socialism and wealth redistribution. Meanwhile, he himself has grown rich through capitalism and most certainly has not redistributed his own accumulated wealth through voluntarily higher tax payments. As for charitable donations, Sanders’ recently released tax returns reveal he donated just 2.26% of his income on average in the last ten years.
Like most politicians on the left — and certainly many on the right as well — Sanders is a Grade A hypocrite who doesn’t practice what he preaches. George Orwell’s suit-wearing pigs from Animal Farm come to mind: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”