Sanders: Slipping Down The Reality Rabbit Hole

Vermont’s premier Senator, Bernie Sanders (Socialist – Flatlander), has disappeared so far down the socialism rabbit hole that he now thinks that Americans, specifically low-income, tend to vote against their best interests.  Perhaps I assumed foolishly, but the entirety of the Democrat platform, and socialism in general, is built to appeal to class differences.  Is Bernie actually saying that poor people tend to vote Republican?

The scary Socialist senator makes me cry!  I might have also whoopsed me didie.

The scary Socialist senator makes me cry! I might have also whoopsed me didie.

But let’s let the guy who squeaked out a short vote due to college students in a college town once speak for himself, because he so often lacks a platform from which to exhale:

Sanders, speaking to over 200 people in a church basement near Iowa State University, said lower-income people tend to vote against their own economic interests because they don’t see much difference between the major parties on economic issues.

“You’ve got millions of folks working longer hours for low wages, people can’t make it on Social Security, they can’t make it on the minimum wage. And they look to Washington, they look to the Republicans and the Democrats, and not much is happening,” he said. “They don’t hear voices standing up for them and they certainly don’t see policies being implemented which will improve their lives.”

Bernie seems to have lost me entirely here, because Republicans blocked the minimum wage increase in the Senate.  Am I to assume, from Bernie’s lofty and removed point of view, that this puts Republicans and Democrats on some kind of parity regarding minimum wage?

But the switcheroo continues here, as Bernie goes out on the bizarro limb to let everyone know that the GOP is the party of identity politics:

He said Republicans have been “very smart” in dividing people on issues such as abortion, gay rights or immigration. “If you assume that nothing is going to happen economically and maybe you are anti-abortion, that’s an issue they will focus on,” he said.

This from a guy who votes with the party that does nothing but pander to political interests groups, and actively seeks one-issue voters – which leaders in the Democratic party admit.  Openly:

Former senator and potential presidential candidate Jim Webb told an audience in Richmond on Tuesday that the Democratic Party has lost white working-class voters by becoming “a party of interest groups.”

“The Democratic Party has lost the message that made it such a great party for so many years, and that message was: Take care of working people, take care of the people who have no voice in the corridors of power, no matter their race, ethnicity or any other reason,” Webb said. “The Democratic Party has basically turned into a party of interest groups.”

But hey, let’s not let Sanders project his own political actions onto the people he hates – Republicans – without letting him explain himself some more:

Sanders, an independent who caucuses with Democrats in the Senate, is considering running for president. Using a podium made of an overturned milk crate with white paper taped on the side away from the audience, he laid out an agenda centered on economic equality. His positions include single-payer health care, affordable higher education, tax reform benefitting middle- and lower-income people, creating jobs through infrastructure investment and a focus on renewable energy to address climate change.  

Ah, economic “equality”.  That means there are haves, and have-nots, and the only party to put that right is the…Republican party?  Why would a low-income voter assume Republicans are operating in their best interests, when Democrats seem to enjoy calling them “evil” and “brain-dead”?

Bernie’s positions are all about dividing people, and always have been.  Single-payer health care is largest income re-distribution project in the history of the country.  The phrase “fair share” has become a nonsensical rallying cry to those who can’t read tax data enough to understand that half the country pays no net income taxes, and somehow think that that’s “unfair”.  Bernie primes the unfairness pump endlessly, then says it’s the other guy who is “very smart” at dividing people?

Half?  Gimme more!

Half? Gimme more!

But let’s really talk about fairness.  From a 2012 report by the Tax Foundation:

Everyone’s taxes are down, except for the 1%:

The charts below show the latest data from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on income and federal taxes paid by households from 1979 to 2009.[2] In Figure 1, we can see that average effective income tax rates have declined considerably for almost everyone, except the top 1 percent of earners.

The decline is most pronounced for the bottom quintile (bottom 20 percent) of households, whose average tax rate went from zero in 1979 to a new record low of -9.3 percent in 2009. That means low-income households now receive more from the IRS in terms of refundable tax credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, than they pay in taxes.[3] This trend has accelerated since 2007, when their tax rate was -5.8 percent, mainly because of higher unemployment and underemployment.

Wow - look at those selfish taxpayers at the high end paying more in taxes.

Wow – look at those selfish taxpayers at the high end paying more in taxes.

The top 25% of income earners now pay 94% of all income taxes.  That means, if Bernie’s not doing enough math lately, that almost the entire income tax burden is shouldered by the 25%.  It’s not the middle class.  It’s not even close to being on the backs of the middle class.

Wait:  You mean the poor and middle class barely pay any taxes?  Somebody pull Bernie off his podium.  Immediately.

Wait: You mean the poor and middle class barely pay any taxes? Somebody pull Bernie off his podium. Immediately.

Bernie, the showman, is wailing about inequality in Iowa, so by standing on a box and telling people he cares about them, he hopes to gather more support.  But what Bernie is telling people is not only inaccurate, it is purposefully deceptive.  From the conclusion of the Tax Foundation article:

Much fanfare was made of the CBO’s last report on this topic, which showed income inequality reaching new heights in 2007.[14] Other organizations, such as the Congressional Research Service, piled on as well, suggesting a relentless march towards greater income inequality.[15]The CBO’s update of the report to include data through 2009 shows this interpretation was unwarranted. Instead, it appears income inequality has mainly gone up and down with the stock market since the late 1980s, with no discernible long-term trend.

This CBO report does confirm one ongoing trend: greater redistribution through the tax code. Progressivity of federal income taxes is at a record high. Effective income tax rates have gone negative for the bottom 40 percent of households and are approaching zero for the 20 percent of households considered the “middle class.” In contrast, tax rates on the top 1 percent of households have remained high at about 21 percent. As a result, the share of income taxes paid by the top 1 percent has increased dramatically since 1979, reaching 38.7 percent in 2009. The top 20 percent of households now pay more than 94 percent of income taxes, roughly matching the record high set in 2008.

In short, the actual tax data tells a completely different story than the one being spun by potential President Bernie Sanders.  But this isn’t someone who’s let a few economic realities get in the way of a good story – a story where the Bad Guys are everyone else, but him.  What Bernie seems to forget is that he’s been a member of Congress since January, 1991.  20 years, first as a Representative, then as a Senator.  If that doesn’t make him complicit in the horrors that he’s selling, what does?

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