Conservatives take Bernie Sanders out of context to justify their tax bill

After Sanders agreed that tax cuts for the middle-class are a good thing, conservatives took him out of context

By Charlie May
Published December 26, 2017 11:01AM (EST)
Bernie Sanders (Getty/George Frey)
Bernie Sanders (Getty/George Frey)

In trying to justify the Republican tax bill, conservatives are quoting Bernie Sanders, of all people. The problem is that they're taking the Vermont senator out of context.

In an interview last week, CNN's Jake Tapper asked Sanders, "Next year, 91 percent of middle-income Americans will receive a tax cut. Isn't that a good thing?"

"Yeah, it is a very good thing, and that's why we should have made the tax breaks for the middle class permanent," Bernie replied. "But what the Republicans did is make the tax breaks for corporations permanent, the tax cuts for the middle class temporary."

The first site to take Sanders out of context was the Daily Wire, which quickly seized the opportunity to spin Sanders' quotes as some sort of grave admission.

The headline for a story on the site read, "Jake Tapper Gets Bernie Sanders To Admit The Middle-Class Tax Cuts In The GOP Bill Are 'A Good Thing.'"

Upon minimal scrutiny, it's quite easy to discern the spin that was being pushed.

Sanders has repeatedly railed against the GOP tax bill since its inception and has insisted that the country enact progressive economic legislation that redistributes wealth from the country's top earners down to working class Americans, following decades of the opposite.

Sanders went on to tell Tapper, "Meanwhile, at the end of 10 years, well over 80 billion Americans are paying more in taxes. Thirteen million Americans, as a result of this legislation, lose their health insurance."

"Health premiums are going up," Sanders explained. "You've got a $1.4 trillion deficit as a result of this bill. And [House Speaker] Paul Ryan [R-Wis.,] is going around saying 'Oh, we have to offset that deficit by cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.'"

He added, "To answer your question, should we have focused on the needs of the middle class? We should have."


But Sanders' staunch opposition to the tax bill has always been rooted in his belief that working Americans are being taken advantage of by the nation's wealthiest earners, so the criticism conservatives are trying to apply here hardly makes any sense.

"It would be unconscionable to leave Washington after giving tax breaks to billionaires and large corporations, while we ignore the enormous problems facing working families," Sanders said on the Senate floor last week.

It's also important to point out that any benefit for middle-class families will only serve to be temporary, as Sanders said, while benefits for the one percent — or the one-tenth of one percent — remain permanent and will still increase the enormous wealth gap the country is facing.

Conservatives, however, looked to jab at Sanders and point out his so-called hypocrisy.

Charlie May

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