Inconsistencies with the Message
as Seen in the Real Life of the Candidate
By Vin Sparks
Things don’t get much more real than one’s tax return. I would say that it is the single most comprehensive portal into someone’s life there is. Everything is there – what you do for a living, who you work for, how much you make, how you spend your money, whether you own or rent your home, your medical expenses and on and on it goes.
In the case of Senator Bernie Sanders, his just released 2014 tax return reveals that the candidate for President isn’t always picking up what he himself is putting down. Do you know what I mean? He’s not smelling what he’s been cooking! He’s not buttering what he’s been toasting! He’s not… okay, I’ll stop now.
Jim Geraghty, senior political correspondent at the National Review, posted an article today that shines a light on, shall we say hypocrisies or should we just call them inconsistencies between what Bernie Sanders practices and what he preaches?
Go to National Review article
Discrepancies between the deductions the candidate took and the socialist sermons he’s been preaching raise an eyebrow to say the least. You be the judge.
In light of the good senator’s long standing philosophy on taxes and who should be paying ”their fair share”, Bernie Sanders tax return isn’t “boring” at all. Quite the contrary. As Ricky Ricardo would say, Senator Sanders “has some esplainin to do”.
From the website of his campaign Bernie says, “We need a progressive tax system in this country which is based on ability to pay. It is not acceptable that corporate CEOs in this country often enjoy an effective tax rate which is lower than their secretaries.” (Emphasis mine)
On the campaign trail, Sanders’s taxation philosophy is simple: If you can pay more, you should; deductions are not a justifiable reason for a wealthy person to pay a lower effective rate than someone who earns less.
- Bernie Sanders and his wife took advantage of $60,208 in tax deductions in 2014. All of the loopholes they used were completely legal – that’s not the issue. What the problem is, is that this presents the senator with a moral dilemma. Bernie and his wife had an adjusted gross income of $205,271 which puts them well into the top 5% in the country. They’re almost one percenters. They’re certainly able to pay more (their fair share). Why are they taking advantage of the hated tax loopholes Bernie has sworn to close?
By taking those enormous tax deductions, the Sanders lowered their tax liability significantly and ended up paying an effective federal tax rate of just 13.5%, lower than the average of 15.2% among Americans making $200,000 – $500,000 and not even half the effective tax rate (27.4%) of those millionaires and billionaires he loves to lie about.
- The Sanders deducted charitable gifts of $8,350. It’s interesting to note that in an analysis of Internal Revenue Service tax records, the Chronicle of Philanthropy in 2014 ranked U.S. cities and states by how much money their residents give to charity. The bottom line? People in red states are more generous with their green.
The study showed that the 17 most “generous” states — as measured by the percentage of their income they donated to charity — voted for Mitt Romney in the last presidential election. The seven states at the bottom of the list, meanwhile, voted for Barack Obama. It seems that, after all the smoke has cleared and the mirrors have been put away, we’re left with the fact that liberals are more compassionate and caring with other people’s money than with their own.
By the way, the state at the very bottom of the list for charitable giving – Vermont.
- The Sanders paid $22,946 in home mortgage interest and took the allowable deduction. Once again, completely legal, however, Bernie Sanders believes that the mortgage interest tax deduction is a “welfare payment for billionaires”. So, why is he taking the deduction?
- Sanders received Social Security benefits in 2014 in the amount of $46,213. He and his wife Jane, former Provost and interim President of Goddard College and president of Burlington College, certainly aren’t hurting for money. Today, Sanders and his wife own two homes. They own a four-bedroom in Chittenden County, Vermont, purchased in 2009 for $405,000. And they own a one-bedroom town house on Capitol Hill, purchased in 2007 for $488,999.
For someone who points the finger at those that avoid paying what he calls “their fair share”, Bernie Sanders certainly knows how to protect his own money and to take what he’s got coming. “I’m alright Jack, just keep your hands off of my stack.”
Jim Geraghty wraps the article up like this:
“What Sanders did, using every option and advantage available under a Byzantine tax code to minimize his tax payment, is a normal practice for many Americans. But it’s also exactly what the targets of his anger do. You can argue about whether or not that’s greed, but it’s impossible to argue that [this] isn’t hypocrisy.”
The paragon of liberal purity is not as pure as he’d like the world to believe.