Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) poked fun at his own “socialist” reputation during the Saturday-night Democratic debate.
Sanders was pressed on how high he would raise the top tax rate, which he declined to do while reminding viewers of how high the rate was under former President Dwight Eisenhower.
“We haven’t come up with an exact number yet. But it will not be as high as the number under Dwight D. Eisenhower, which was 90%,” he said.
“I’m not that much of a socialist compared to Eisenhower,” he continued, winning applause and laughter.
Sanders, a registered independent who identifies as a democratic socialist, added that the current tax structure doesn’t make any “sense at all.”
“But we are going to end the absurdity, as Warren Buffett often reminds us, that billionaires pay an effective tax rate lower than nurses or truck drivers,” he said. “That makes no sense at all. There has to be real tax reform and the wealthiest and large corporations will pay when I’m president.”
Just before he made that comment, however, Sanders offered a phrase that he said would make some Republican viewers concerned: “redistribution of wealth.”
“In the last 30 years, there has been a massive redistribution of wealth. And I know that term gets my Republican friends nervous,” he said. “Problem is this redistribution has gone in the wrong direction.”
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