A person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, especially a person whose actions belie stated beliefs.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders identifies as a socialist, but is campaigning for the presidency as a Democrat.
As Kerri Anne Renzuli, reporting for Time magazine, points out, Sanders “rails against the ‘billionaire class,'” calls income inequality “the greatest moral issue of our time,” and has made a big point of contrasting his modest income against his competitors in this election.
While Sanders is indeed far less wealthy than multi-millionaire Hillary Clinton and many of his Senate colleagues, he is not the man of modest means he pretends to be. Even worse, his pretense is engineered via lies of omission.
Sanders and his wife, Jane — a retired educator and college president — claimed an income of $200,000 for 2014, comprised of:
- Sanders’ $174,000 salary as a senator.
- $5,000 a year pension payment from his stint as mayor of Burlington, Vt.
- He and his wife’s Social Security benefits. (Bernie is 74, Jane is 65).
In July 2015, Politico reported that on his presidential personal financial disclosure form, Sanders claimed total assets of less than $750,000 ($194,026 to $741,030) — a broad combination of investment funds, all in his wife’s name — and $25,002-$65,000 in credit card debt on his Visa cards.
But Sanders left out his other assets, which tell a different story. They consist of the following:
- Sanders’ government retirement savings account — the well-regarded 401(k)-like Thrift Savings Plan — estimated to be $500,000 to more than $700,000 by the end of 2015, thanks in part to the government’s matching contributions.
- The pension Sanders will receive when he retires from Congress, estimated to be $71,340 a year.
- His wife’s retirement funds of an unknown amount from being a college provost, interim president, and president.
The Sanders also own at least 2 homes — in Vermont and on Capitol Hill. In July 2015, on MSNBC yesterday, Jane Sanders mentioned a third home — a condo that she and her husband recently sold, which would likely inflate their net worth (even at the lower estimates) to over a million dollars.
Altogether, Time magazine estimates Bernie and Jane Sanders’ effective retirement nest egg could be $2 million, which is well above the U.S. average. About half of U.S. households 55 and older have no retirement savings, according to a GAO report released last summer. And of those who do, households age 65-74 had a median $148,000 saved.
Even Sanders’ annual pension alone would be far above the $36,895 that the median American household with at least one member over 65 earns in a year, according to the Pension Rights Center.
All of which led Time to call Bernie Sanders “a de facto millionaire”.
H/t FOTM‘s Dave