It’s growing increasingly difficult to take the Left seriously. No, it’s not because their ideas and proposals are getting more extreme and outlandish. That is to be expected. It’s because the Left is consistently telling us how we should all think, how we should all behave, and how disagreeing with them means that we’re evil. The Left claims that those on the Right side of the aisle don’t care about the poor because they won’t support raised taxes to pay for nationalized programs. The Left claims that those on the Right don’t care about the environment because they won’t support massive overhauls to the environment and economy. And of course, the Left claims that those on the Right don’t care about transparency because we don’t argue for President Trump to release his tax returns. Luckily for us, in recent months, the Left has shown us just how much it cares about these things, as well.
For five years now, Bernie Sanders has been pushing a number of socialized policies including Medicare for all, free college, and his newest battle – credit card reform. All of this is done by demonizing millionaires and billionaires, claiming that they are not paying their “fair share” of taxes. Recently, though, the American people were fortunate enough to see Bernie Sanders’ tax returns and learned just how much he actually cares about poor people. The first conclusion we get from the tax returns is that Bernie Sanders is actually a part of the one percent. Now as a capitalist, I applaud Senator Sanders’ ability to earn that much money in a year despite the lack of any marketable skills. However, as a (Democratic) Socialist, Sanders should absolutely hate himself for being a millionaire. In fact, in his CNN town hall, Sanders actually pled guilty to using the abilities capitalism affords to produce a book that made him a millionaire.
But perhaps there is a saving grace for Sanders. Perhaps he used the money by donating to organizations that help the people he’s fighting for. Did he donate extra money towards helping those who need healthcare? Did he use the money to start scholarship programs at public universities for underprivileged students? Did he help a family in his home state of Vermont with their crushing credit card debt? Well, no. According to the Business Insider, in the first year (2016) that the Sanderses earned over $1 million, they gave away just over $10,000 to charity, or about one percent. The average charity given by those earning around $1 million in 2016 was 5.6 percent. I’d like to go even further in comparison, and look at Mitt Romney’s tax returns when he ran for president in 2012. According to Politico, in 2011, the Romneys donated almost 30 percent of their income to charity. The Romneys are the type of people that Bernie Sanders vilifies all the time, yet they clearly care more about helping others less fortunate than Bernie Sanders.
For what it’s worth, the Sanders camp claims that the tax returns do not reflect charity given from money made from his book deal, but they never released documentation showing otherwise, so for now, I’m going to not believe him. However, the most telling aspect of the CNN town hall was that Sanders defended his wealth, not by claiming that proceeds went to charity (because they didn’t), but by how he has fought against the Trump tax cuts. Now, in Sanders’ mind that may make sense, but realistically, if he were to live how he wants others to live, his answer should have been that the money has been donated to the causes he cares about.
Let’s move on to the environment, and everybody’s favorite millennial congressperson, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who, in her ground-breaking Green New Deal proposal, showed that she believes the best way to fight climate change is to eliminate combustible engines, airplane travel, and eliminate glass buildings. However, while she’s talking about the elimination of the glass buildings, she seems fine standing inside of one while chucking boulders at her opponents. One of the main areas of improvement AOC has been fighting for is increased low-emissions public transportation, and thereby significantly reducing climate pollution.
AOC believes that climate change will be the downfall of civilization within the next generation, so it makes sense that she is so concerned about carbon emissions. Yet despite her convictions, and despite the fact that her Queens office is a mere one-minute walk to the 7 train (a highly eco-friendly mode of transportation), the New York Post reported that from the time she declared her candidacy in May 2017 until March of this year, the campaign spent over $29,000 on Uber and Lyft, compared to just over $8,000 on Metro Cards.
Now, when confronted about this, an acceptable response would have been something along the lines of “You’re right. We have to do better about this, and I call on all of my colleagues to pledge to use public transportation more than to rely on cabs.” But that’s not what the freshman congressperson said. “I’m just ‘living in the world,’” she claimed. In today’s world, AOC absolutely must go against her principles because it would be slightly less convenient to do otherwise. You see, the only way to effect change is to force everyone to conform to your ideals, and not set an example while pushing others to do the same.
Finally, let’s look at someone a little less well-known than Bernie and AOC. Binyamin Appelbaum is a member of The New York Times editorial board, as well as a NYT Washington, DC, correspondent. In an effort to show how he’s not attacking President Trump specifically for not releasing his tax returns, Appelbaum wrote a piece for The Times in April entitled, “Everyone’s Income Taxes Should Be Public.” This way, nobody could hide anything, and the only people who would be against this proposal would be people who have something to hide. I’m not going to go into too much depth about the idiocy of this opinion. There has already been a large amount of criticism in the media for it.
But like the issue with Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez, nobody is preventing Appelbaum from releasing his tax returns. As of today, Appelbaum has yet to release his tax returns to the public. I could only assume that the reasoning for this is that he has something to hide. Otherwise, there would be no reason to keep any personal finance record private. What are you hiding, Binyamin?
One might look at these moral inconsistencies and claim that this is nothing more than a “Do as I say, not as I do” attitude. However, I would contend that these beliefs pose a much greater threat to society in general. These three individuals attempt to claim the moral high ground by telling you that their policies are required. However, until then, they will not change their own behaviors until the policy becomes law. They tell you that they want transparency, that they want to save the environment, and that they care for poor people, while at the same time doing nothing in their personal lives to promote it at all. It is the very definition of hypocrisy, and Sanders, AOC, and Appelbaum have all taken the oath.
Izzo Zwiren works in healthcare administration, constantly concerning himself with the state of healthcare politics. The topic of healthcare has led Izzo to become passionate about a variety of political issues affecting our country today. Aside from politics, Izzo is a fan of trivia, stand-up comedy, and the New York Giants. Izzo lives on Long Island with his wife and two adorable, hilarious daughters.