Sen. Bernie Sanders, “independent” Senator from New York, er, Vermont, and is only as “independent” as his paychecks coming from the
pockets of working people allow him to be, recently demonstrated his solidarity with the proletariat by purchasing a $600,000 lakefront house in North Hero, VT.
For those with some semblance of self-awareness, perhaps even shame, purchasing a house that the vast majority of Vermonters can’t afford, a purchase certainly assisted by his wife’s $200,000 golden parachute earned by financially sinking Burlington College under her tenure as college president, seems, well….mildly hypocritical? And might seem, to ardent, and occasionally frothing-at-the-mouth Bernie supporters, to be a complete and utter sellout to the values he espoused while happily taking in millions in contributions from their modest barista earnings from the corner coffee shop?
If the hypocrisy isn’t perfectly clear, let me shine a bright light on the Dome of Mt. Bernie:
In 2014, Bernie and his wife earned a bit over $200,000. In Vermont, that puts them in the 2% category. That’s right, in Bernie’s adopted home state, he’s not quite a 1%-er he’s been railing against for the past several years, but he’s almost there. This New York 2%-er has spent the bulk of his adult life complaining about rich people.
And now he’s one of them, and he’s going to show it, by buying a house in Vermont that real Vermonters can only drive past, knowing that
with Vermont’s median household income slipping, there’s no way, ever, they will find themselves in the kind of surroundings the self-proclaimed “Man” of the people has laughingly ensconced himself.
Oh, and in case it wasn’t clear –there’s a long-standing tradition of feathering the Sanders family nest with money from other people. Like Burlington College funding classes at a woodworking school, a school run by Jane’s daughter, Carina Driscoll, and one paid $500,000 for
classes from Burlington College. Those Burlington College classes ceased as soon as Jane left Burlington College. Did they run out of wood?
Or the son of a sitting Burlington College board member, getting his Caribbean “education program” funded by the college?
Burlington College offered its students a study abroad program in the Caribbean, according to tax filings. It reported spending about $47,000 on that program in the tax year beginning in mid-2008.
Around that time, the son of Jonathan Leopold, a Burlington College board member, purchased a small resort in the Bahamas called Andro’s Beach Club and an accompanying hotel, Nathan’s Lodge.
Leopold served with Sanders in the Burlington city government—as mayor, Sanders appointed Leopold city treasurer—before becoming embroiled in scandal involving millions of dollars in payments to a Burlington telecommunications company.
Sen. Sanders has described Leopold as so close a friend as to be considered “family.” He reportedly discouraged Sanders’ socialist impulses early in their careers. Efforts to reach Leopold were unsuccessful.
Shortly after Leopold’s son, also named Jonathan, purchased the resort, Burlington College began writing it large checks for all-inclusive stays for its study abroad students.
None of this is necessarily new news, but it is telling that so many Sanders supporters quite happily endorsed a candidate who’s been telling
them one thing, about how they should live their lives, that there’s too many choices of deodorant on store shelves, that rich people are essentially monsters, taking from the working class. But how he’s lived his life and
provided for himself and his family seems to look, a lot, like how those evil rich people cariacatures he’s demonized all his life live their lives.