Bernie Sanders Doesn’t Really Believe In Higher Tax – Not For Him Anyway

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Bernie Sanders says that rich people – rich people like him and his wife that is – should pay higher taxes. Bernie Sanders does not voluntarily pay those higher taxes he thinks rich people should pay. He’s thus not really in favour of higher taxes upon rich people, is he?

The thing being something that economists like to point to. There’s a difference between expressed preferences and revealed preferences. In the vernacular, talk is cheap and actions count. Even walking the walk is different from talking the talk.

If you truly and honestly believed that the Federal government would use your money better than you would then you’d voluntarily give some of your money to that Federal government. It’s easy enough to do and the system has been around since 1843:

We see the same sort of call everywhere of course. All sorts of people call for higher taxes: it’s just that very few actually pay higher amounts of money. We can see this in both the UK and US. The US has an account, “Gifts to the United States”, specifically for charitable-minded citizens. Send them a cheque, they’ll cash it and spend the money on government. Last time I checked, the figures they received were $2,671,628.40. Roughly speaking, 1 cent per head of population.

Or:

Did you know that if you feel you are not paying enough tax you can simply send a check to Uncle Sam? To say thank you for all of the blessings that have been showered upon your grateful and smiling countenance? Indeed you can and the address is here:

Gifts to the United States
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Credit Accounting Branch
3700 East-West Highway, Room 6D37
Hyattsville, MD 20782

That might be worth printing out then clipping and keeping. And when a campaigner tells you in his stump speech that he thinks taxes should be raised, smile sweetly and ask him how much he added to his tax bill last year. After all, if he thinks you should pay more taxes shouldn’t he already be doing so voluntarily himself?

So, to Bernie:

Bernie Sanders took the stage at a fiery Fox News town hall in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania on Monday, and sparks flew almost immediately, as Sanders defiantly refused to explain why he would not voluntarily pay the massive new 52-percent “wealth tax” that he advocated imposing on the nation’s richest individuals. “We’ll get through this together,” Sanders said at one point, as tensions flared.

He does come in the sorta range where his new tax would apply:

According to the returns, Sanders and his wife paid a 26 percent effective tax rate on $561,293 in income, and made more than $1 million in both 2016 and 2017. Sanders donated only $10,600 to charity in 2016 and $36,300 in 2017, the records showed, followed by nearly $19,000 in 2018.

There is an explanation says Bernie:

Sanders doubled down on his previous defenses of his wealth, which even some progressives have called hypocritical. “This year, we had $560,000 in income,” Sanders said. “In my and my wife’s case, I wrote a pretty good book. It was a bestseller, sold all over the world, and we made money. If anyone thinks I should apologize for writing a bestselling book, I’m sorry, I’m not gonna do it.”

And why should anyone else, therefore, apologise for playing a pretty good game of baseball, running a successful company, issuing a decent record, and enjoying the income therefrom?

The moment Bernie donates the difference between his current tax bill and his proposed one to the Feds in that Gift Account then we should listen to his calls. For until he does so he’s not being serious about his higher taxes – he’s not willing to pay them himself, voluntarily, so why should he gain the power to impose them upon others involuntarily?

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