U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, currently the longest-serving independent member of Congress, has gained quite a reputation for targeting billionaires. In 2021, the Brooklyn native went after Elon Musk for a second or third time (we’ve lost count), and in March 2023, he attacked former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz for pushing an “illegal union-busting campaign."
While many applauded Sanders for his recent comments, others like Oklahoma Republican Markwayne Mullin turned the spotlight on the senator’s net worth.
Sanders is often known for standing against the obvious wealth inequality in the U.S., though he’s actually sitting on quite a fortune himself. Let’s take a look at how rich Sanders is and his lengthy political career.
Net worth: $3 million (estimated)
Bernie Sanders is among the most well-known socialist voices in U.S. politics. He has long been campaigning against the wealth disparity in the U.S. He has a strong following in the U.S. However, Wall Street is wary of Sanders' policies. Much of Sanders' net worth comes from his salary as well as the advances and royalties he receives from his books.
Birthdate: Sept. 8, 1941
Birthplace: Brooklyn, N.Y.
Education: James Madison High School
University of Chicago
Spouse: Deborah Shiling (1964–1966)
Jane O'Meara (m. 1988)
Kids: 1 (and 3 step children)
How much is Bernie Sanders worth in 2023?
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Sanders has a net worth of $3 million. Sanders has made his money from his salary and the advances and royalties on the different books that he has written. He reportedly earns $174,000 annually.
Where is Bernie Sanders from?
Sanders was born on Sept. 8, 1941, in Brooklyn, N.Y. He attended Brooklyn College and the University of Chicago. After graduating in 1964, Sanders moved to Vermont. Initially, he worked as a carpenter and documentary filmmaker before he was elected as the mayor of Burlington in 1981. Sanders is married to Jane O’Meara Sanders and has four children and seven grandchildren. Currently, he lives in Burlington.
Sanders and his wife reported an income of above $1 million in 2016 and 2017. The income was boosted by the proceeds from his books. However, in 2018, the couple reported an income of $561,293.
Does Bernie Sanders pay taxes?
The Sanders have been known to donate to charity. In 2018, they donated 3.4 percent of their adjusted gross income to charity. His tax rate was 35 percent in 2016, 30 percent in 2017, and 26 percent in 2018. Sanders has been vocal about the wealth disparity in the U.S. and he wants the super-rich to pay their fair share of taxes.
While Sanders is among the top 1 percent, against whom he has based his campaign around, he has been transparent with his returns.
What's the deal between Elon Musk and Bernie Sanders?
Sanders has continuously lashed out at billionaires, saying they need to pay their fair share of taxes. Earlier in 2021, he specifically targeted Jeff Bezos, then the world’s richest person, and Musk, who is now the second-richest person.
Since then, Musk has added several billions of dollars to his net worth due to the spike in Tesla stock. Meanwhile, Musk has been selling Tesla shares after he held a Twitter poll where the majority was in favor of him selling shares.
You have to be naïve to think that Musk sold billions of dollars worth of Tesla shares due to a Twitter poll. There could be multiple reasons why Musk sold the shares. The first is, of course, the steep rise in the stock. Secondly, he may have sold the shares to escape the expected increase in capital gains tax.
Finally, Musk selling shares around the Rivian IPO isn't a mere coincidence. There was a broad-based sell-off in EV stocks after Musk’s announcement. However, Rivian’s IPO not only sailed through but has continued to rise.
Should billionaires pay a higher tax?
Unless you are a billionaire, you would agree that the ultra-rich aren't paying their fair share of taxes. However, raising the rates to abnormally high levels also wouldn't be the solution and might do more harm than good.
To pay for the current fiscal extravaganza, where the Biden administration has bumped up the spending to support the U.S. economy’s long-term competitiveness, increasing the taxes on the ultra-rich is a fair idea.