by Guest Blogger Mark Mensch
So there’s a large outcry about how Bernie Sanders, Democratic Socialist, wanting equality throughout the US for everyone, has just bought a beach house in Vermont for $600,000.
And true to internet and shock media, that has been the extent of their fact checking. From there they have begun to speculate that he used all of his campaign donations to buy it, that he’s not a true socialist for buying it, that he’s just another member of the 1% club and so on. In other words, let’s just slam him and not give a crap about the facts.
Well let’s check the facts.
Yes, Bernie Sanders bought a beach home in Vermont for $600,000. Prior to this purchase, owned two homes – a joint rental property in Burlington and a condo in Washington, D.C. However according to the Seven Days Vermont news service, Bernie’s wife inherited a family vacation home in Maine recently and decided to sell that house and use it to put down a down payment on the Vermont Beach house (I had found somewhere on the internet that the house sold for something just over $500K but cannot find that information now – sorry).
Bernie did not use campaign funds to buy it. In fact, any left over campaign funds they can donate the funds to charities or political parties; it can contribute $2,000 per election to other candidates; and it can save the money in case the candidate chooses to run again. That’s it. They can’t use them to buy a house.
Next, Bernie Sanders’ net worth, according last week to MoneyNation, is $528,014. But how can that be with now three houses and everything else? Well there is this thing called debt and Bernie Sanders has it – anywhere from $25K-$65K. Putting that all aside, he is far from the 1% club – whose actual net worth requirements vary from place to place but according to the New York Times, the top 1% has a household income of $380,000 annually (over half of Bernie’s overall net worth) and a net worth of nearly $8.4 million.
Yes, he’s pretty well off compared to the average American – as are all senators, congressmen and other people in those elected offices. And even some of our most outspoken and loved ‘socialist’ presidents (such as Kennedy and Roosevelt) were millionaires. But Bernie Sanders is no 1%.
But the strangest argument is that he is turning on his democratic socialistic principles. A democratic socialist is not against people having nice things. They don’t expect everyone to have the same house, with the same car, with the same dog and the same job. What they do expect is that those who make more due to the advantages given within our country give back more. They don’t find loopholes to hide money or enact legislation to make sure they continue to make a profit while hurting other people. And that’s what Bernie Sanders is all about: Having corporations and the rich pay their share, and maybe a little more, back into the country instead of finding new ways to protect their assets while other hard working individuals wind up having to foot the bill.
Bernie Sanders spent the last 50 years of his life fighting for equal rights for everyone. He had worked hard and long and paid his fair share back to the society that helped him arrive there. And if he managed to afford a beach house not through lobbyist gifts or kickbacks and paid his property taxes for it, then I say he’s earned a beach house for his golden years.
Mark Mensch is an avid gamer and very active within the Live Action Role Playing community here in the US and abroad. He has had several short stories published and also runs a small etsy store for live action props and masks at www.etsy.com/shop/LARPGear. He lives with his 14 year old rabbit Maryann and tends to have opinions about everything – quite often on both sides of the issue.