“Meet Bernie Sanders” Column Covers Candidate’s Past-Truth! & Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
An editorial headlined “Bernie Sanders, The Bum Who Wants Your Money” that paints a dismal picture of the Vermont senator’s past has gone viral.
The Bernie Sanders editorial was published by Investors Business Daily, which offers a step-by-step strategy “anyone can use” to achieve financial freedom, on January 26. The editorial paints Bernie Sanders as “an angry radical agitator who never accomplished much of anything.”
We’re not going to weigh in on whether or not that sweeping claim is true, but the editorial does make a number of specific claims about Bernie Sanders that we can fact-check to help you form your own opinion.
Sanders collected his first paycheck in his late 30s-Fiction!
Bernie Sanders didn’t have a stable career after graduating from the University of Chicago in the early 60s, but he worked a variety of jobs (and collected paychecks) throughout the 60s and 70s. He was elected the mayor of Burlington, Vermont, in 1981.
Before that, Politco reports that Sanders worked as an aid at a psychiatric hospital, as a pre-school teacher for Head Start, as a property tax researcher for the Vermont Department of Taxes, and for a non-profit called the Bread and Law Task Force.
Aside from a municipal pension, Sanders has no assets-Mostly Fiction!
It’s true that Bernie Sanders listed only a municipal pension under his name on a financial disclosure form, but that doesn’t account for all of his assets.
Bloomberg Media explains that assets like real estate, cars and federal retirement plans are not included on presidential financial disclosure forms. Candidates also give their financial holdings in broad ranges, which “offers a window into a candidate’s financial holdings, but the window is not crystal clear.”
For example, Sanders and his wife, Jane, listed between $194,026 and $750,030 in financial assists (all in Jane’s name). The only asset listed under Sanders’ name was a municipal pension, but gain, that doesn’t mean it’s his only asset.
For starters, he owns multiple properties. A campaign spokesperson has disclosed that Sanders owns two homes, one in Vermont and one in Washington. In his 2012 Senate personal financial disclosures, Sanders reported having a rental property in Burlington valued at up to $250,000 that generates up to $15,000 in annual income.
So, it’s true that Sanders’ assets are minimal compared to other presidential candidates — but it’s not true that a municipal pension is his only asset.
Sanders has $65,000 in credit card debt-Mostly Truth!
Bernie Sanders disclosed between $25,002 and $65,000 in credit card debt in on financial disclosure forms filed in mid-2015. A campaign spokesperson said that the senator’s debt “rises and falls” with expenses like weddings for his daughter and niece that were held in 2015. The spokesperson said before that, Sanders’ credit card debt was zero.
It wasn’t as bad as he says. His family managed to send him to the University of Chicago. Despite a prestigious degree, however, Sanders failed to earn a living, even as an adult. It took him 40 years to collect his first steady paycheck — and it was a government check.
“I never had any money my entire life,” Sanders told Vermont public TV in 1985, after settling into his first real job as mayor of Burlington. . . .
Sanders took his first bride to live in a maple sugar shack with a dirt floor, and she soon left him. Penniless, he went on unemployment. Then he had a child out of wedlock. Desperate, he tried carpentry but could barely sink a nail. “He was a shi**y carpenter,” a friend told Politico Magazine. “His carpentry was not going to support him, and didn’t.”
Then he tried his hand freelancing for leftist rags, writing about “masturbation and rape” and other crudities for $50 a story. He drove around in a rusted-out, Bondo-covered VW bug with no working windshield wipers. Friends said he was “always poor” and his “electricity was turned off a lot.” They described him as a slob who kept a messy apartment — and this is what his friends had to say about him.
The only thing he was good at was talking … non-stop … about socialism and how the rich were ripping everybody off. “The whole quality of life in America is based on greed,” the bitter layabout said. “I believe in the redistribution of wealth in this nation.”
So he tried politics.