It is highly unlikely there’s anything newsworthy or untoward in Bernie’s unreleased tax returns — which is what makes his evasiveness baffling. Perhaps it’s something much simpler: Bernie and Jane Sanders are millionaires. At least that’s what Money magazine seems to think. So what happens to Bernie’s campaign if he is a millionaire?
If voters had a dime for every time Bernie Sanders railed against millionaires and billionaires, they’d be millionaires.
OK, that’s an exaggeration, but there’s no denying that Bernie has portrayed millionaires as one of society’s greatest ills.
We share Bernie’s (and Hillary’s) beliefs about the injustice of extreme income inequality — there’s something deeply wrong about a single individual hoarding enough money to feed millions of hungry children.
But like Bernie, we believe that wealthy individuals — like Hillary and Bill Clinton — who devote their life and resources to helping others instead of hoarding money, are doing the fair and just thing.
So what happens if Bernie himself is a millionaire? Various news publications have analyzed the Sanders finances, and Money magazine concluded:
Democratic presidential hopeful and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders rails against the “billionaire class,” has called income inequality “the greatest moral issue of our time,” and has made a big point of contrasting his earnings against his peers in this election. While the senator is indeed far less wealthy than many of his Senate colleagues — as well as his fellow presidential contenders — he is not exactly a man of modest means … the household’s effective retirement nest egg could be closer to a $2 million valuation. That’s well above the American average, of course.
Politico reports that “according to campaign spokesman Michael Briggs, the senator owns at least two homes, one in Vermont and one on Capitol Hill.”
On MSNBC yesterday, Jane Sanders, responding to a question about releasing their tax returns, mentioned a condo that the Sanders sold. That would be the third home referred to in this report and would likely inflate their net worth (even at the lower estimates) to over a million dollars.
In our view, not much.
Nothing about Bernie’s net worth devalues his progressive beliefs. The same holds true for Hillary. She has devoted her life to improving the lives of others. Rather than sit back and enjoy her financial success, she continues to expose herself to vicious attacks to be a public servant.
Fighting to secure health insurance for millions of children, as Hillary did, would be a powerful enough legacy to do nothing for the remainder of her life. But instead, she continues to fight for progressive values, enduring more personal smears in an hour than most humans do in a lifetime.
So perhaps it’s time for Bernie and his campaign to put the Wall Street hit against Hillary to rest. After all, Bernie — arguably a millionaire himself — believes it’s a personal attack:
According to the New York Times, Bernie’s ‘release the transcripts’ attack line is “the sort of character assault he has long opposed.” The Times says, “he rejected it as a personal attack on Mrs. Clinton’s income. She has the right to make money, he offered.” So why has he kept doing it? And why does he keep denying that he’s running a negative campaign?
(AP Photo/Mel Evans)