Just minutes before going on Fox News to advocate for higher taxes, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) released the past 10 years of his own tax returns, confirming that the Democratic Socialist has benefitted significantly from the economic system he so often rails against.
According to the New York Times, Sanders' income puts him in the top 1 percent of taxpayers.
"These tax returns show that our family has been fortunate," Sanders said via statement. "I am very grateful for that, as I grew up in a family that lived paycheck to paycheck and I know the stress of economic insecurity."
What do the numbers show?
In 2018, Sanders and his wife earned $561,293 in gross income. Approximately $393,000 of that came from his book sales. They paid a federal effective tax rate of 26 percent ($145,840).
The Sanders family's income multiplied significantly when they started selling books. In 2014, he and his wife earned an adjusted gross income of about $200,000, while in 2016 and 2017 they earned more than $800,000 each year just in book revenue, not even counting his six-figure congressional salary.
Isn't profiting from book sales capitalism?
During his Fox News town hall Monday, host Bret Baier asked Sanders if he would credit his wealth to a capitalist economy.
"When you wrote the book and made the money, isn't that the definition of capitalism and the American dream?" Baier asked. Sanders paused for a moment, then simply answered "no."
"This year, we had $560,000 in income," Sanders said. "In my and my wife's case, I wrote a pretty good book. It was a bestseller, sold all over the world, and we made money. If anyone thinks I should apologize for writing a bestselling book, I'm sorry, I'm not gonna do it."
Sanders was also asked why he wouldn't voluntarily pay more in taxes since he believes the wealthy should pay much more than they do right now. He brushed that suggestion off and pivoted the conversation to President Donald Trump.
"Pfft, come on. I paid the taxes that I owe," Sanders said, according to Fox News. "And by the way, why don't you get Donald Trump up here and ask him how much he pays in taxes? President Trump watches your network a little bit, right? Hey President Trump, my wife and I just released 10 years. Please do the same."