Jim Geraghty rolls out a particularly well-worn chestnut:
Bernie Sanders released his 2014 tax return this weekend, revealing that he and his wife took $60,208 in deductions from their taxable income. These deductions are all perfectly legal and permitted under the U.S. tax code, but they present a morally inconvenient, if delicious, irony: The Democratic socialist from Vermont, a man who rages against high earners paying a lower effective tax rate than blue-collar workers, saved himself thousands using many of the tricks that would be banned under his own tax plan.
This is the equally asinine flipside to Megan McArdle’s “if you think taxes should be higher, why don’t you just send extra money to the government?” argument. If Bernie Sanders opposed ending tax deductions because they benefited him personally, that would be hypocrisy. Arguing that such deductions should be ended but taking advantage of them while the laws remain on the books is not hypocrisy. These silly gotcha arguments fail to understand not just what hypocrisy means but the fact that political action is only meaningful if it’s collective.
If you don’t like the designated hitter rule in baseball, does that mean you should send your pitcher to the plate just to prove how sincere you are? Of course not. You play by the rules, whatever those rules are.
I favor universal, government-funded health care. Does that mean I should virtuously refuse MoJo’s employer health care? Does anyone on the planet think that makes any sense at all?