by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
[I]n 2016, his first million-dollar earning year, he donated less than 1% of his income to charity.
It’s only fair to point out also that Sanders increased his giving to above 3% in 2017 and 2018 — perhaps because by then he had some inkling of a presidential contender.
But it would be wrong to label Bernie a hypocrite for giving so little to charity. Why? Because he is a socialist.
Sanders really meant what he said in 1981 when he told attendees at a local United Way fundraiser in Vermont, “I don’t believe in charities.” Sanders, then serving as mayor of Burlington, “went on to question the ‘fundamental concepts on which charities are based’ and contended that government, rather than charity organizations, should take over responsibility for social programs,” according to a contemporaneous report from the New York Times.
So no, Sanders is not a hypocrite. Rather, he is a consistent believer in an ideology that is avowedly anti-charity. Sanders, like other socialists, isn’t opposed to helping people. Rather, he wants the state to do something he’s unwilling to do himself on a personal basis: help the needy with his own wealth and the wealth of millionaires.
Americans are historically averse to socialism, and this helps explain their historical culture of giving generously to charity. The U.S. leads the world in private giving, donating twice as much as the runner-up (New Zealand) as a percentage of GDP.