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Bernie’s Tax Returns Reveal…Nothing of Any Particular Interest

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Democratic presidential candidates from left, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Hillary Rodham Clinton, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee take the stage before the CNN Democratic presidential debate Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

The returns show that Mr. Sanders’s earnings shot up after his first presidential bid, when he built up a vast national following. His income topped $1 million in 2016 and 2017, lifted by proceeds from his books.

Mr. Sanders and his wife, Jane O’Meara Sanders, had an adjusted gross income of $561,293 in 2018, according to their most recent tax return. Mr. Sanders had about $393,000 in book income last year, and he and his wife reported giving $18,950 to charity.

Their federal taxes came to $145,840, for an effective federal tax rate of 26 percent.

Mr. Sanders’s higher income in recent years creates some political awkwardness for the senator, who in his 2016 presidential campaign frequently railed against “millionaires and billionaires” and their influence over the political process.

His income now puts him within the top 1 percent of taxpayers, according to data from the Internal Revenue Service.

The “political awkwardness” bit helps to explain why he waited to release them; as with Clinton, it’s tempting to respond to the unfair attacks you know are coming by stonewalling, and you know that if Sanders is the nominee Chris Cillizza and Maureen Dowd will be in an arms race to write the most columns about how Bernie Warbucks can’t possibly be a real progressive because he has money. Anyway, the idea that if someone has money they can’t really be progressive is a really dumb and pernicious argument and liberals shouldn’t contribute to that. I’m not interested in hearing any more about Bernie’s damn tax returns.

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