Don’t We All Deserve a Fair Share of Bernie’s Book Sales?

April 17, 2019 Updated: April 18, 2019

Commentary

Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is a self-proclaimed socialist. That fact is undisputed. Apparently, he also makes a good living as a successful author, as he recently disclosed during a Fox News town hall meeting in Pennsylvania on April 15.

“This year, we had $560,000 in income. … In my and my wife’s case, it came from a book I wrote, a pretty good book. It was a bestseller, sold all over the world, and we made money. If anyone thinks I should apologize for writing a bestselling book, I’m sorry, I’m not gonna do it,” Sanders said, according to Fox News.

Sanders is mistaken. People don’t want an apology. Rather, they expect him to proudly and willingly distribute a fair share of the profits from his book sales in accordance with his socialist policies. However, people will likely be disappointed, as Sanders apparently doesn’t live by the same policies he endorses.

A cursory “review” of capitalism and socialism will be helpful. According to the author and Fox News host Mark Levin, capitalism is the most humane economic system because the people are in charge, individuality is encouraged and rewarded, and individuals are empowered to work together. People are encouraged to work hard and to reap the benefits of their hard work. There is economic freedom, and success is directly related to effort. In a system of this nature, some will be left on the sidelines.

On the other hand, socialism, according to Levin, spreads poverty through redistribution. The state is the master and decision-making is exercised by a few people who are not concerned with the rights of the individual but on the equality of distribution. The government controls the system, people are kept at similar economic levels (through redistribution, heavily taxing those who choose to work hard and succeed, etc.), and people generally don’t work as hard to succeed because they do not personally prosper from their hard work.

One would think that Sanders, a self-proclaimed socialist, would live in accordance with the ideas he espouses.

For example, according to Fox News, Sanders advocated a 52 percent “wealth tax” on the nation’s wealthiest individuals. However, “Sanders and his wife paid a 26 percent effective tax rate on $561,293 in income, and made more than $1 million in both 2016 and 2017. Sanders donated only $10,600 to charity in 2016 and $36,300 in 2017, the records showed, followed by nearly $19,000 in 2018.”

When asked about why he was holding onto his wealth, Sanders simply deflected the questions and was unwilling to provide a thoughtful response.

Sanders also was unwilling to admit that his bestselling book (“Our Revolution”) and the money that he earned from his book perfectly fit the definition of capitalism and the American dream. Rather than conceding this obvious correlation, Sanders said, “No. What we want is a country in which everyone has an opportunity. … A lot of people don’t have a college degree. A lot of people are not United States senators.”

Sanders’ answer was an illogical response. First, the fact that he wrote a successful book and earned a lot of money from the sale of it has everything to do with capitalism and very little to do with being a senator or creating a country where everyone has an opportunity.

Is Sanders saying that the socialistic policy of “sharing the wealth” applies to all people other than U.S. senators, and that he is exempt from his proposed policies? If he’s so keen on providing everyone with an opportunity, why wouldn’t he volunteer to share his wealth as much as possible to accomplish this goal? There are quite a few people who could really use a fair share of the proceeds that he derived from his bestselling book. Think about the “opportunities” that Sanders could create for them if he were simply more willing to share his wealth.

Herein lies the problem with those in Congress who promote a socialistic approach. On the one hand, they advocate for higher taxes, redistribution of wealth, and the idea of keeping people at similar economic levels. However, when it’s their turn, they’re simply unwilling to do so.

Perhaps the real reason that Sanders is not jumping to be first in line is due to the inherent unfairness and inequity associated with socialism. Sanders worked hard on his book and benefited financially from his hard work. That’s the definition of capitalism, not socialism, and Sanders should readily admit this.

Sanders is simply unwilling to practice what he preaches, which comes across as hypocritical. However, he is not alone in his hypocrisy, as many congressional Democrats have also followed suit in other areas.

For example, many congressional Democrats continue to oppose President Donald Trump’s border wall, yet live in large homes secured by gates and personal guards. Some congressional Democrats also advocate for sanctuary cities, yet oppose the idea of placing (detained) illegal immigrants into such cities.

Someone once said, “If you cannot prove it by your action(s), you do not mean it.” In other words, talk, alone, is cheap.

Evidently, there’s some real truth to this.

Elad Hakim is a writer, commentator, and attorney. His articles have been published in The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, The Western Journal, American Thinker, and other online publications.  

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

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