CBS News host Margaret Brennan recently confronted self-proclaimed socialist Senator Bernie Sanders for benefitting from capitalism while promoting socialism. To do so, she pointed out that tickets for his new book tour event are selling for nearly $100 on Ticketmaster, a site known for its “anti-competitive behavior.” She then asked if he is really benefitting from the capitalist system that he claims to be trying to dismantle. In her words:
“Tickets for your tour are apparently selling for $95 on Ticketmaster which is accused of anti-competitive behavior. Aren’t you benefitting yourself from this system that you’re trying to dismantle?”
Senator Sanders responded by first blaming the bookseller and then claiming that tickets for another event are less expensive, saying “First of all, those decisions are made totally by the publisher and the bookseller. I think there’s one case where in one place here in Washington, Politics and Prose, an independent bookseller, is charging come tickets—$40, $50—and you get a book as well.”
Regardless of whether the tickets are $50 or $95, isn’t he still benefitting from capitalism and people buying the book and tickets?
Brennan, however, stuck to attacking him over the Ticketmaster connection rather than his benefitting from the system regardless of who sells the tickets, asking “But you’re okay doing business with Ticketmaster?”
Senator Sanders, in response, said that he was “not particularly” comfortable doing business with them but that he had to as part of the book “process”, saying “No, not particularly, but I have nothing to do with that. If you wrote a book, it would probably be the same process.”
Watch that back and forth here:
Regardless of the details of this event and book tour, Senator Sanders has indeed benefitted from the American economic system. In fact, he has amassed a fortune of millions and owns three homes thanks to people buying his books. Politico Magazine, reporting on the senator’s massive wealth and how defensive he gets when questioned about it, reported in 2019 that:
Today, he might still be cheap, but he’s sure not poor. In the wake of his 2016 presidential run, the most lucrative thing he’s ever done, the 77-year-old self-described democratic socialist is a three-home-owning millionaire with a net worth approaching at least $2 million, taking into account his publicly outlined assets and liabilities along with the real estate he owns outright. In a strict, bottom-line sense, Sanders has become one of those rich people against whom he has so unrelentingly railed. The champion of the underclass and castigator of “the 1 percent” has found himself in the socioeconomic penthouse of his rhetorical boogeymen. This development, seen mostly as the result of big bucks brought in by the slate of books he’s put out in the past few years, predictably has elicited snarky pokes, partisan jabs and charges of hypocrisy. The millionaire socialist!
Sanders has been impatient to the point of churlish when pressed about this. “I wrote a best-selling book,” he told the New York Times after he releasing the last 10 years of his tax returns. “If you write a best-selling book, you can be a millionaire, too.” Asked on Fox News if this sort of success was “the definition of capitalism,” he bristled. “You know, I have a college degree,” he said.
So, to answer Brennan’s question, the answer is “yes.” Bernie has benefitted from the capitalist system that he’s supposedly trying to dismantle.
By: Will Tanner. Follow me on Twitter @Will_Tanner_1
Featured image credit: screengrab from the embedded video