Bernie vs. billionaires: Sanders jokingly supports telling the 1% to "f**k off"

"I can’t quite phrase it like that, but... I like it," Sanders said when a supporter told the ruling class "f off!"

By Ben Norton
May 3, 2016 10:34PM (UTC)
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Bernie Sanders (Reuters/Lucas Jackson)

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders expressed support for telling the "billionaire class" to "f**k off" at a rally in Indiana on Monday morning.

"I think that when the top one-10th of 1 percent now owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent, we got some other choices that we can make," Sanders declared in his speech, the Hill reported.


"And I think that choice is to tell the billionaire class and the corporations—" Sanders continued, before pausing when a man in the audience yelled out an unexpected end to his sentence: "to f**k off!"

Sanders smiled and replied, "Well, that is one way to phrase it."

The audience cheered as he beamed.


"I myself am constrained. I can’t quite phrase it like that — but that’s not bad," Sanders joked.

"You get to the point very succinctly; I like it," added the self-declared democratic socialist and longtime independent Vermont senator.

"I will not repeat what the gentleman just said," Sanders said. "But it’s something with eff off,” he hinted with a smile.


You can watch the moment below:

The ruling class to which Sanders refers has more wealth than at any time in history. As Salon has reported before, the richest 0.1 percent of Americans have almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent.

In other words, 160,000 families have as much money as around 290 million Americans.


Globally, inequality is even more extreme. The richest 1 percent is estimated to have more wealth than 99 percent of the people on the planet.

That is to say, 7.23 billion human beings have less wealth than 70 million.

Meanwhile, income inequality is at the highest it has been since 1928 — the eve of the Great Depression — and only continues to grow.


Approximately 15 percent of Americans live in poverty — nearly 50 million people. Nearly one in every four American children suffers from poverty. Among black and Latina/o Americans, the economic struggle is even more severe.

A survey found that 56 percent of Americans have less than $1,000 combined in their checking and savings accounts.

Ben Norton

Ben Norton is a politics reporter and staff writer at AlterNet. You can find him on Twitter at @BenjaminNorton.

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