People who have been waiting to find some kind of dirt on Bernie Sanders are having an online field day after learning that Bernie Sanders and his wife purchased a vacation home in North Hero, Vermont, for a half-million dollars, because apparently, they believe this is hypocritical to his socialist heart.
Senator Sanders and his wife, Jane, never claimed to still be among the poor of America. Their combined tax return from 2014 that they disclosed showed their earnings at $205,271. Sanders’ salary is $174,000 for his work in the Senate. The couple also earn social security, just as others in their age group do. The Sanders donated to charity (not to their own questionable foundation, mind you) and they paid their taxes. Though Bernie is among the poorer politicians in Washington, his household income still places them among the top four percent of income earners in the nation.
Apparently, you can’t fight for American’s tax dollars to help actual Americans and own a cottage with a bunk house on the lake at the same time, according to his critics who presumably never understood his progressive ideals to begin with.
Sanders’ critics say he is hypocritical of his democratic socialist progressivism because he has three homes. These people seemingly don’t understand Democratic Socialism. Democratic Socialists don’t oppose property ownership. They don’t oppose people doing well for themselves. On the contrary, Democratic Socialists want all members of society to have the opportunity to live comfortably and happily.
In an article featured in the Nation and written by Ann Jones, which compares Jones’ time in Norway with her time in America, Democratic Socialism is described in detail.
“Norway ranks with Sweden, Denmark, and Finland as among the most income-equal countries in the world, and its standard of living tops the charts.
“So here’s the big difference: In Norway, capitalism serves the people. The government, elected by the people, sees to that.”
Sure, Bernie owns three homes, but his one bedroom rowhouse on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. is irrelevant to this discussion. Should he stay at a hotel when he’s working as the most popular senator in the United States Senate?
The Sanders’ primary home is a modest colonial in Burlington, Vermont. People Magazine visited that home in December, 2015. It showed that Bernie’s house is typical of what baby boomers used to consider part of the American Dream. It’s the kind of home Sanders wants all hard working Americans to have the opportunity to afford if they choose that path, not just senators or the wealthiest of Americans.
— People Magazine (@people) January 20, 2016
The 1995 American Housing Survey determined that 9.1 million families owned a second home just a few decades ago. In 2014, vacation-home sales accounted for 21 percent of all home sales, according to the National Association of Realtors. For upper-middle and upper class citizens, this is a very real goal that many of them accomplish. Currently, nearly six percent of American families own a second home.
The Sanders’ new home in North Hero, Vermont, is located on Lake Champlain, the same lake where he announced his longshot presidential candidacy last year. One could imagine that Sanders wanted to freeze the moment of possibility that he felt when he stood on the beach of that lake, with the intent to show America that the son of a poor immigrant actually had a shot at the presidency without the help of Super PACs. Still, Jane explained to Seven Days that the couple had always dreamed of owning a home in the North Hero area, long before he announced his candidacy.
“My family had a lake home in Maine since 1900, but we hadn’t had the time to go there in recent years — especially since my parents passed away. We finally let go of it and that enabled us to buy a place in the islands — something I’ve always hoped for.”
Their new vacation home reportedly sits on over an acre of land on the beachfront and includes about 1,800 square feet of living space. That’s plenty large enough for the couple, but they are looking forward to sharing it with their own kids and grandkids. Bernie has one son from an earlier relationship. Jane has three children from her first marriage. Their kids have spouses and the couple has seven grandchildren in total.
The 1920’s home includes a small log cabin and an attached bunk house. The seller was asking $598,000, but it sold for $575,000, according to SFGate.
Check out Bernie Sanders’ rustic new lakefront summer home, his third house https://t.co/8muwOUqK2u So what, he sold a home, bought a home
— Jim Healey (@Jimh77) August 11, 2016
Pretending that Jane and Bernie Sanders put absolutely no money down, their payment for their new North Hero vacation home would still be under $36,000 a year, or less than 17 percent of their annual income. Nothing about this new purchase is unreasonable for senior citizens in their income bracket, and no part of their new cottage opposes Democratic Socialism.
For what it’s worth, Sanders warned our lawmakers decades ago that the middle class would go extinct if we continued to allow the one-percent to evade taxes and send manufacturing jobs overseas. Yet here we are, still not understanding how capitalism and socialist programs can create a better life for all Americans, while the corporate media tries to ensure that we never do.
[Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images]