Bill O’Reilly Endorses Bernie Sanders!

Bill O'ReillyBill O’Reilly claims that he is going to move to Ireland if Bernie Sanders becomes president. He says that he is not willing to pay 90% income tax. This is strange because Sanders has said on numerous occasions that he will not raise income tax rates that high. At the 14 November 2015 Democratic debate, Sanders was asked how much he would raise the top marginal tax rate. He responded, “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%… I’m not a socialist compared to Eisenhower.”

So how is it that “I will not raise the income tax rate to 90%” becomes “I will raise the income tax rate to 90%”? Well, it comes from the man who I have come to think of as the heart and soul of the Republican Party: Donald Trump. Back in October, he was at a rally in Richmond, Virginia where he called Bernie Sanders a communist. And he said, “He’s gonna tax you people at 90 percent.” It must be true, it was on the television.

But television works both ways, and Politifact documented Sanders’ statements going back to 2008 where he has said that he wouldn’t go up to a 90% marginal tax rate. Based upon what I know of Bernie Sanders, I think he would like to go back to a top marginal tax rate that we had under that communist Richard Nixon (70%), but that he’d be thrilled just to get it back what it was under that pinko Ronald Reagan (50%).

If the top marginal tax rate went up to 90%, Bill O’Reilly would not be paying his taxes to “that guy.” He would not even be paying his taxes to the US government. He would be paying his taxes to the American people.

There are several things to note about all this. As Martin Longman has pointed out, “Even if Sanders wanted that kind of tax reform, he’d never be able to accomplish it. He couldn’t accomplish it even if the Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress and had a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.” Despite what idiot conservatives like to claim (but only when a Democrat is in the White House), we do not live under a dictatorship. What really matters in this case is that Sanders thinks that taxes on the rich are way too low, and this is a belief that even most Republicans share. Scary?! I don’t think so.

Part of the problem, of course, is that most people don’t understand marginal tax rates. I still hear urban legends about this guy who got a raise but ended up with less money because he got pushed into a higher tax bracket. Sorry folks, that ain’t the way our tax system works. (Note: this does happen to the poor, as I discussed before, Catch 22 for Poor in America.) But certainly Donald Trump understands marginal tax rates. But it’s like his bigotry: I don’t think he’s a racist; he’s a demagogue — which is far worse.

But at least Bill O’Reilly is being honest that Sander’s mythical 90% tax rate would affect him and not the nation as a whole. But I was really bothered by exactly what he said, “I’m not going to pay 90 percent of my income to that guy. I’m sorry. I’m not doing it.” This is typical of conservative thought and it is something that enrages me. Oh how conservatives like to talk about patriotism, but when it costs them one red penny, they are an island unto themselves.

If the top marginal tax rate went up to 90%, Bill O’Reilly would not be paying his taxes to “that guy.” He would not even be paying his taxes to the US government. He would be paying his taxes to the American people. He would be doing it because that is the price we pay for living in this country. It is the price that Bill O’Reilly pays for living in a country where he can make millions of dollars per year. If he had been born in Zimbabwe, he would have died poor and young of typhoid. Patriotism isn’t putting a yellow ribbon on your car and cheerleading every war that comes along. Bill O’Reilly is at best what Thomas Paine called a “sunshine patriot.” I would go further, I would call him a traitor.

But I think there are tens of millions of people in the US who would vote for Bernie Sanders for the single reason that Bill O’Reilly would go away. Sanders could not have received a better endorsement than this one. Unfortunately, O’Reilly is lying (as usual). He wouldn’t leave this country. To start with, he would have to renounce his US citizenship, or he would still have to pay the taxes. Once there, he would find that his income would plummet; he would no longer be making the $18 million from Fox News. And without that platform, his best selling books would become distinctly midlist. And as it is, his taxes would still be north of 50%.

Still, Bernie Sanders becoming president would really piss off Bill O’Reilly. And if I weren’t already a Sanders supporter, that would be enough to make me one.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

11 thoughts on “Bill O’Reilly Endorses Bernie Sanders!

  1. Also, O’Reilly made the same promise in 2008 with the condition of Obama and Al Franken winning their respective elections. Both came true, and O’Reilly’s still here. His gig is way too cushy to leave.

    • I didn’t know that. That’s great. I also remember people joking that conservatives were going to move to Canada if Obamacare was passed. And then some conservatives actually made that totally clueless threat. I do understand making stupid public threats like that. But after you’ve embarrassed yourself once, you’d think you would stop yourself. But the truth is that the people with the worst impulse control are the people with the most money and power.

      • Sadly US law doesn’t let the President kick someone who says they will run away if some law is passed.

        Then again the country we kick them to would probably declare war on us for dumping our conservative whiners on them. And who wants to fight the Flanders of our neighborhood.

        • Wait: is that a Simpson’s reference? I like Ned Flanders. I mean, I disagree with him. But he really does try to live by his principles. Compare him to O’Reilly or Ted Cruz, for whom Christianity seems to bring only hatred. And I think Ned would be an excellent neighbor to have. If I lived next to Homer, I’d call CPS.

          • It is a joke in reference to how nice Canadians are. They are the Flanders and we are the Simpsons. I got it from Miz Molly Ivins.

            All of those whining Republicans claiming they were going to leave the US if the ACA was passed said they were going to Canada. And no they didn’t consider it has a government run health care system.

  2. Oh, the next person who mentions that “higher tax brackets keep wages down” thing, I’m gonna lose my mind.

    • I don’t hear it as much as I used to. But I’ll bet it is mentioned everyday somewhere on reddit.

  3. When conservatives talk about human capital, “skill set,” talent” or whatever, they talk about it like it is currency, easy to measure, portable and universally applicable. That is how they justify someone making 25 million or 250 million a year, the notion is that a commentator or a hedge fund manager could add at least that sum, at the margin, whever they go. The truth is that the more money someone makes, the more likely that their “skill set” is likely to be highly dependant on context. A mechanic or a bartender or a day laborer adds value in most places but the very high earners are only valuable in a very specific place and context. So yes, Bill O’Reilly, move to Ireland and make 20 thousand euro a year as a beat writer, if you can even find that job.

    • Excellent point. I think Matt Yglesias wrote an article recently about how the “gig” economy would lead in exactly the opposite direction than people claim the economy should go. If everyone has a half dozen jobs, they have to be things that anyone can do. So out the window goes the idea that income inequality is going to be fixed by more education. But that idea was always bunk.

  4. I have no idea what the current tax rates are like in the UK, but I was under the impression that a lot of British celebrities move to the US to escape high taxes. Maybe he just wants to live in there because of the National Health Service.

    • I know you are kidding. But I think the real issues are: first, that they are high but not as high as 90%; and second, that the tax rates in Ireland are lower than they are in the UK. But like most conservatives, Bill O’Reilly is just an America hating bastard.

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