According to newly-released tax returns, Bernie Sanders doesn’t exactly live by the socialist mantra of redistributing the wealth.
The self-described Democratic socialist and presidential candidate had resisted releasing his tax returns for years. With Democrats calling for President Trump to release his returns, however, Sanders was under pressure to release his as well. It is now clear why he was hesitant to provide such personal financial information.
The returns show that Sanders is not only a multi-millionaire, he gave very little in donations to charity. He also owns three homes.
The Daily Beast, a left-wing news outlet, revealed that an analysis of Sanders’ returns shows he only gave 2.26% of his income to charity over the last decade, despite making over one million dollars in two of those years.
The Daily Caller, a right-wing news outlet, also revealed that in 2016, the first year he made over $1 million in income, he gave less than 1% to charity.
Sanders salary in 2016 and 2017 peaked, using very capitalistic means: selling his book “Our Revolution,” which espoused the virtues of Democratic Socialism.
According to his returns, Sanders made $561,293 in 2018, donating $18,950 to charity, which equates to 3.38% of his income.
In 2017, Sanders made $1,131,925, and donated $36,300 to charity. That is a giving rate of 3.21%.
In 2016, Sanders crossed the millionaire threshold in income, making $1,062,626. However, he only donated $10,600, about 1.00% of his total income.
The Daily Beast reports that Sanders’ rate of giving was below the average for taxpayers in his income bracket in some years, but at the average or slightly above in other years.
Sanders has received blowback over the release, as some call it hypocritical. Sanders has defended his income, pointing out that he is paying appropriate taxes on it.
The Sanders campaign released several statements about the tax returns.
“The Sanders do not take a tax deduction for those contributions, so they do not show up on their tax returns,” one statement read. “The Sanders’ donations have gone primarily to senior centers, low-income organizations, educational entities, and environmental and housing advocacy groups.”
Another statement implied that the government should play the largest role in helping the poor. “In some years, they (the Sanders) gave more than 3 or 4 percent of their income to charity. They have given to senior centers, low-income organizations, educational entities, and environmental and housing advocacy groups. They also believe that while voluntary charitable donations are commendable, they can never replace ongoing public investments in major social programs and services that improve people’s lives.”
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