Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) wants to eradicate all American billionaires.
The radical leftist told CNN’s Chris Wallace that the government should confiscate the wealth of anyone many more than $1 billion.
“Do I think people who work hard, create new businesses should become rich? I do. Do I think they should have $50 billion or $100 billion when you have got a half a million people who are homeless in America today, when you have 85 million people who can’t afford health insurance? No, I don’t,” Sanders said.
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WALLACE: But let me pick up on this. Because in your book you say flatly, billionaires should not exist.
SANDERS: That’s right.
WALLACE: And one of the targets that you go after is Walton family. Sam Walton had $25 billion net worth when he died. And, obviously, you would be upset about that. On the other hand, Sam Walton built Walmart — Let me finish —
SANDERS: I know.
WALLACE: — built Walmart, which is the biggest single private employer in the United States. It employs 1.5 billion Americans. Are you saying the country would be better off without people like Sam Walton and businesses like Walmart?
SANDERS: Chris, what I’m saying is, you are asking me to be critical and attack these people. I’m not doing that.
WALLACE: Well, you said billionaires shouldn’t exist. You call them American oligarchs.
SANDERS: I do. But it’s not a personal attack on the Walton family or Musk or anybody else. It is an attack upon a system. You can have a vibrant economy without three people owning more wealth than the bottom half of American society.
Do I think people who work hard, create new businesses should become rich? I do. Do I think they should have $50 billion or $100 billion when you have got a half a million people who are homeless in America today, when you have 85 million people who can’t afford health insurance? No, I don’t.
WALLACE: In your book, you ask the question, how much is enough? So, let me get an answer from you. How much is enough?
SANDERS: I think we should go back to the tax policies, the radical tax policies that exist under that communist president, Dwight D. Eisenhower. What do you think about that? That if you make a lot of money, you are going to pay a lot of taxes.
WALLACE: I think I may be wrong, but I think back in the Eisenhower days, the top marginal tax rate was around 90%.
SANDERS: That’s right.
WALLACE: So, basically, you’re saying, we should go back at a certain point, you get $1 and 90 cents goes to the government?
SANDERS: No. You know that’s quite the way it works. It means that your top dollar at a certain level. It’s not 90% of your entire income.
WALLACE: Well, by the time you make $20 or $50 billion —
SANDERS: It’s the top dollar. And people like Theodore Roosevelt — you know why Theodore Roosevelt established the estate tax way back when, because he was worried precisely about concentration of ownership, of the rich becoming much richer.
WALLACE: But, sir, you are saying that billionaires should not exist. Are you basically saying that once you get to $999 million, the government should confiscate all the rest?
SANDERS: I’m saying we should go back to a very progressive tax policy like what we had under Dwight D. Eisenhower.
WALLACE: Which would mean that all these billion dollars, basically, it all goes to the government?
SANDERS: You may disagree me but —
WALLACE: I’m just asking.
SANDERS: Fine, yes, I think people can make it on $999 million. I think that they can survive just fine. Look, when I talk about oligarchy, it’s not only the power of the people on top, it’s what’s happening to working people, and we’ve got to talk about that. It’s not only that so many of our people are struggling. It’s that so many of our people can’t afford health care, they can’t afford prescription drugs, they can’t afford childcare, they can’t afford to go to college. Is that really what the United States of America should be about?
WALLACE: But you can do a lot of that and not basically upend capitalism.
SANDERS: It’s not upending capitalism. There are countries around the world that are vibrant capitalist societies that provide health care to all of their people, but make sure you have a minimum wage which is a livable wage.
WALLACE: I’m not arguing with you about that.
SANDERS: OK. Don’t hear me saying, and I’m not, you read the book, I’m not saying that the government should be nationalizing every Mom and Pop store in the country. Of course, I’m not saying that. You want vibrant entrepreneurs. You want small and medium-sized and large businesses to succeed. But we need to create a culture in this country which says that, you know what, it’s not so great and not a good idea that some people have $150 billion, a family has $200 billion, when so many people are struggling. We can do better.