Yet another op-ed in the Boston Globe looks at Bernie Sanders' 2014 tax return and posits some on point questions (Sanders made more that we did, but paid quite a bit less in taxes - should we fire our CPA?). The piece also looks at the dysfunction on the Republican side of the aisle in the personage of Ted Cruz, one of the most loathsome politicians in America today, yet who has "friends" only because Donald Trump is more widely feared/hated among the self-destructing GOP establishment. First these highlights on Sanders:
So much of our politics is based on illusion. Something can look or feel a certain way but, on closer inspection, turns out to be untrue. Two examples, one from the Democrats and another from the Republicans, show the ways in which false assumptions and beliefs can mislead us.
Bernie Sanders is the socialist candidate for president, although he prefers the term “Democratic-Socialist,” since it makes it easier for him to sell Marxist social and economic theory to a nation brought up on free markets and rugged individualism. Sanders is a working-class champion fighting for tax fairness and against income inequality, or so we are led to believe.
Sanders waited until late in the day on Friday to release his 2014 tax returns, obviously hoping voters would overlook the news that he and his wife, Jane, paid an effective tax rate of 13.5 percent, or $27,653 in federal taxes on an adjusted gross income of $205,271.
When it was revealed that former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney paid 14 percent of his income in taxes in 2011, the news was greeted with howls of protest from the left.
Sanders’ six-figure income puts him in the 28 percent bracket for married joint filers. He cut that rate by more than half by taking more than $64,000 in deductions — all perfectly legal, but no one expected the redistributionist to redistribute less, on a percentage basis, than a prominent member of the capitalist class.
Sanders is near the top 5 percent of all Americans in terms of income. The core of the Sanders campaign is getting the wealthy and corporations to pay their fair share. Such high-minded principles should also apply to socialists making more than $200,000 a year.
The column then directs its focus to the loathsome Ted Cruz:
No one seems to have more fake friends these days than Cruz. The Texas senator is the most unloved person in the US Senate. Yet, as the front man for the Stop Trump movement, he has become a vessel of hope for Republicans who think he is the less bad thing of a pair of bad things. No one better exemplifies this attitude than Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who famously compared the choice between Trump and Cruz to being shot or poisoned.
In Tuesday’s New York primary, Trump crushed Cruz. The math says it is now impossible for Cruz to accumulate the delegates he needs in the remaining contests to win on the first convention ballot. What a difference from two weeks ago, when on the night of his double digit win in Wisconsin, Cruz declared, “We’re winning because we’re uniting the Republican Party.”
A winning campaign for the White House needs to be built on something more than the absence of Trump. It requires real friends, not fake ones.