No, Bernie Sanders is not going to tax you at 90 percent

Did you hear about the evil communist who wants to be elected president so he can take away 90 percent of your income and give it to homogay abortion clinics? Yeah, me neither.

But if you have read any right wing “news” sites lately, you might get the impression that Bernie Sanders wants to do something very similar.

In a recent interview CNBC’s John Harwood asked Bernie if he thought a 90 percent tax rate was too high. His response had several conservative pundits frothing at the mouth.

Here is the actual exchange:

HARWOOD: Have you seen some of the quotations from people on Wall Street, people in business? Some have even likened the progressive Democratic crusade to Hitler’s Germany hunting down the Jews.

SANDERS: It’s sick. And I think these people are so greedy, they’re so out of touch with reality, that they can come up and say that. They think they own the world.
What a disgusting remark. I’m sorry to have to tell them, they live in the United States, they benefit from the United States, we have kids who are hungry in this country. We have people who are working two, three, four jobs, who can’t send their kids to college. You know what? Sorry, you’re all going to have to pay your fair share of taxes. If my memory is correct, when radical socialist Dwight D. Eisenhower was president, the highest marginal tax rate was something like 90 percent.

HARWOOD: When you think about 90 percent, you don’t think that’s obviously too high?

SANDERS: No. That’s not 90 percent of your income, you know? That’s the marginal. I’m sure you have some really right-wing nut types, but I’m not sure that every very wealthy person feels that it’s the worst thing in the world for them to pay more in taxes, to be honest with you. I think you’ve got a lot of millionaires saying, “You know what? I’ve made a whole lot of money. I don’t want to see kids go hungry in America. Yeah, I’ll pay my fair share.”

You see the part where Sanders calls for taking all the money from people who work hard and giving it to lazy welfare queens? No? That’s because it isn’t there.

This of course was reported with headlines like:

This is just a sampling. The some of the progressive coverage wasn’t much better:

If you actually read some of these articles it gets even more dishonest. From the HotAir article:

“He’s willing to have the government come and take ninety cents out of every dollar you earn if you commit the sin of being too successful in modern America.”

At best this is a gross misrepresentation, and at worst an outright lie. Some things to consider:

  • Nowhere has Bernie actually proposed a 90 percent tax on anyone. He only said he wouldn’t be opposed to it.
  • The tax in question is called a marginal tax rate, which means it only applies to income after a certain amount. For example, if you made 2 million dollars a year, and the marginal tax rate applied to everything after 1 million, the first million dollars would not be affected.
  • Such a tax would only affect the wealthiest American. In other words, statistically, not you.

This is what the media does. It distorts a statement or offhand remark into something sensational that can serve as click bait. And we wonder why politicians never want to give a straight answer.


One thought on “No, Bernie Sanders is not going to tax you at 90 percent

  1. Right. A marginal tax rate isn’t a tax on the total income.

    What incentive does one have to expand their business and create jobs when they’re past the regular tax amount? If I make a million, why work harder to make two million if I only keep one hundred-thousand?

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