14 thoughts on “Would Sanders’ radical past would haunt him in a general election?”

  1. I’d still like to know whether Sanders, over his long political career, has expressed an opinion about the JFK assassination. I can’t find where he has.

    1. John,

      That is the exact same question I have.

      In any case while I was researching that topic, I discovered a video that is a possible reference to Mr. Sanders in 1963. While it is not directly about the assassination, it reflects our country’s challenges during that time in history. As such, I just thought I would share the video regardless. See Below.


  2. The GOP nominee (most likely Trump, as things appear now) would undoubtedly try to marginalize Sanders as outside the mainstream.
    But trying to portray Sanders as some sort of “radical” might fall flat. It comes down to what you consider “radical.”
    Back during the Cold War, anyone with even vaguely “socialist” leanings could be easily marginalized as threatening.
    But the young people flocking to Sanders’ campaign have no memory of those times and so the epithet “socialist” makes no impression on them. In fact, given their skeptical attitude towards capitalism, “socialist” is a concept they appear very open to.
    These same young people would probably support efforts to abolish or rein in the CIA.
    The difficulty for Sanders is that young people are notoriously reluctant to vote. Nevertheless they have given him a boost so far and by doing so have shown that the old Cold War way of thinking is outdated.

    1. John, if there was prejudice against the concept of “socialism” during the cold war, it is not reflected in tax policy.
      taxation was dramatically more progressive, until the early 1980’s. Political labels are simply manipulations to turn
      attention away from the fanatical process, endorsed by the establishment to turn what was once collected through more
      progressive taxation, into more concentrated wealth for the few, and a ballooned national debt burdening the many. In the majority, the electorate was manipulated into discounting the negative impact on the vast majority of them, of huge tax cutting significantly benefiting very few. (The political party that once preserved truly progressive taxation was called the democratic party.):

      March 24, 2013
      Under the deal struck by President Obama and Congress to avert the “fiscal cliff,” the estate tax — long targeted for elimination by Republicans — survived, but in a substantially diminished form.
      In 2001, the year George W. Bush became president, individual estates over $675,000 were taxed and the top rate was 55 percent. Now, the maximum tax is 40 percent and only individual estates worth more than $5.25 million are taxed (a figure that will now be automatically adjusted for inflation)….

      The percentages below do not even include the large increase of Social Security tax percentage dunned on all non-high income employee income, and equally on employers,
      commencing with Reagan era, SS, “reform” effective in the late 1980’s. All of the extra SS tax collected, nearly $3 trillion since that rate increase, was borrowed and spent as if it was general taxation revenue, and is a component of the $18 trillion current national debt. The “reform” was a ruse to make it appear the income tax reductions were having a less regressive effect on tax revenue stream since the late 1980’s.

      February 06, 2011 at 9:00 AM
      click- National debt on 09/30/2015 = 18,150,604,277,750.63 (18 times higher than 1981, unadjusted for inflation.)

      35 percent: The top federal income tax rate for the 2010 taxes due April 15.
      …..39.6 percent: Top tax rate in 2000

      click- National debt on 09/30/1993 = 4,411,488,883,139.38 (4.4 times higher than on last day of Carter admin. fiscal year)

      31 percent: Top tax rate in 1991

      50 percent: Top tax rate in 1986

      70 percent: Top tax rate in 1980 click- National debt on 09/30/1981 =* 997,855,000,000.00

      91 percent: Top tax rate in 1963

      84.4 percent: Top tax rate in 1950

      94 percent: Top tax rate in 1945

      79 percent: Top tax rate in 1939

      63 percent: Top tax rate in 1935

      25 percent: Top tax rate in 1931

      46 percent: Top tax rate in 1924

      73 percent: Top tax rate in 1921

      7 percent: Top tax rate in 1915

      Source: Internal Revenue Service.

      February 26, 2016
      According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the U.S. ranked 27th out of 30 industrialized countries in tax revenue as a percentage of GDP in 2014. The three highest countries were Denmark (50.9%), France (45.2%) and Belgium (44.7%). The U.S. figure, 26%, was behind the OECD average of 34.4%.

      The OECD also analyzed tax revenue per capita, and in 2014 the U.S. ranked 17th out of 29 industrialized countries. Here, the top three were Luxembourg ($49,911), Norway ($38,016) and Denmark ($31,054). In the U.S., the tax revenue per capita in 2014 was $14,204.

      1. The wealthiest were hardly affected by the regressive, “one, two taxation punch” effected on the great majority by the Reagan administration, if their annual income was for example, double or more than the annual social security tax, income cap.

        Social security revenue surplus, taxed and spent as regular taxation revenue, a debt bond (obligation contributing to the rise in the national debt, a $3 trillion impact since the 1980’s (1/6 of total national debt)) issued representing a
        debt owed by all taxpayers to the Social Security Admin., but described as a “trust fund”!:

        To help disguise the impact of the percentage reductions in progressive taxation collections, the surplus social security collected annually and spent as if it were
        taxation revenue, is by law, not mentioned in annual budget deficit amounts. Since
        war expenditures were also arranged as “off budget” during the Bush Cheney madness
        era, the size of the annual deficits during those years appeared dramatically lower
        than the actual impact to the national debt total.:

        (This article is structured as republican propaganda, but I will present it because of this reluctant admission, but the truth is, since the federal government borrowed and owes Social Security more than $2.7 trillion, the government would actually have to pay back all of that money to the SS Trust fund BEFORE social security ever actually “contributed” to any deficit, since the spending of it (surplus SS withholding and employer paid SS taxes) as general revenue has disguised the actual amount of annual budget deficits for the past thirty years!)

        The ruling:

        Merkley told a gathering of seniors that “Social Security has never contributed one cent to the deficit.” Until 2010, that was true….

        1984 – surplus social security revenue collected – $4.698 billion
        2007 – surplus social security revenue collected – $190.388 billion
        2010 – First full year of impact of great recession. surplus- $68.602 billion

        1984 – total amount owed by US taxpayers to Social Security Trust fund, described by Reagan as a looming crisis=
        $31.075 billion.
        2014 – total amount owed by US taxpayers to Social Security Trust fund – $2789.476 billion

        (But Dr. McAdams labels with contempt, Bernie Sanders as a socialist, and Tom S., a leftist, and if he is correct,
        the fraudulant trickle down taxation policies and political ideals McAdams believes in will indeed, bankrupt the country
        and result in making the oligarchy that has taken the place of a vibrant middle class obvious, even to him.)

        continued –

        1. http://dissidentvoice.org/2013/09/ronald-reagan-and-the-great-social-security-heist/
          Ronald Reagan and the Great Social Security Heist

          by Allen W. Smith / September 24th, 2013
          Reagan needed a new source of revenue to replace the revenue lost as a result of his unaffordable income tax cuts. He wasn’t about to rescind any of his income-tax cuts, but he had another idea. What about raising the payroll tax, and then channeling the new revenue to the general fund, from where it could be spent for other purposes? An increase in Social Security taxes would be easier to enact than a hike in income tax rates, and it would leave his income tax cuts undisturbed. Reagan’s first step in implementing his strategy was to write to Congressional leaders. His first letter, dated May 21, 1981 included the following:

          As you know, the Social Security System is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy…in the decades ahead its unfunded obligations could run well into the trillions. Unless we in government are willing to act, a sword of Damocles will soon hang over the welfare of millions of our citizens……..
          There is no way that anyone who knew Reagan’s record would accept his claim that Social Security was his highest priority. He had always wanted the program eliminated, or at least privatized.

          Reagan’s scare tactics worked. Congress passed the Social Security Amendments of 1983, which included a hefty increase in the payroll tax rate.

          ……The public was led to believe that the surplus money would be saved and invested in marketable U.S. Treasury Bonds, which could later be resold to raise cash with which to pay benefits to the boomers. But that didn’t happen. The money was all deposited directly into the general fund and used for non-Social Security purposes. Reagan spent every dime of the surplus Social Security revenue, which came in during his presidency, on general government operations. His successor, George H.W. Bush, used the surplus money as a giant slush fund, and both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush looted and spent all of the Social Security surplus revenue that flowed in during their presidencies….

          1. Tom, despite recent actions by President Obama, the White House does not have the authority to spend anything. Congresses, past and present, vote all appropriations. Reagan, nor Bush I, nor Clinton, nor Bush II “spent” any of the FICA taxes collected from workers and their employers. The Congress voted to pay the current and future social security and Medicare benefits which are draining the treasury.
            If you don’t like it, try running for office on a platform of reducing entitlement payments to current and future seniors. You will lose. Even Trump dares not argue such a program, because he knows the electorate would never stand for it.
            Secondly, what has any of this to do with 11/22/63?

          2. “which are draining the Treasury.”

            Ed, you’ve turned my argument upside down.
            Social Security contributed its surplus collection in excess of $2.7 trillion “to the treasury,” so as far as SS, I don’t understand what you are saying.

            I am for restoring the progressive taxation percentages in effect pre-Reagan, and the inheritance tax levels pre GW Bush.

            Imagine how different the wealth distribution landscape might look today if working class Americans and their employers had simply retained the portion of the nearly $3 trillion now owed by the taxpayers to the Social Security Trust Fund, instead of that money being taken from them and actually used to mask the extents of budget deficits directly inflated from early 1980’s by the drastic reductions in income tax rates…. on the wealthiest?

            A recent addition. (Disclaimer): “This is an archival or historical document and may not reflect current policies or procedures.”
            Excerpts From Huey Long’s
            “Second Autobiography”
            …..In this book, “My First Days in the White House,” Huey Long holds imaginary conversations with the nation’s power brokers and even names his cabinet appointees and provides the text of the Supreme Court decision that will uphold the constitutionality of his “Share the Wealth” plan.

            (Surprise, they explain that they’ve temporarily rendered the links on the page “harmless,” but the record remains…)

            Chapter 5 – https://web.archive.org/web/20000325013449/http://www.ssa.gov/history/hueychapt5.html

            ….We do not propose any division of property. We propose that no one man shall own too much, and that no one family shall have too little for comfort. There is a sane limit to the ..number of miles that a man can run; to the length of time which one can live. There is also a sane limit to the amount of wealth which it is healthy for one to own.

            ….Our average wealth at normal values amounts to about $17,000 to each family. So we would say that when one possesses wealth amounting to $1,700,000, he has enough, and that for him to have more than that sum would mean that he has more business to handle than his two eyes and ears can safely manage…

            ….As I was about to conclude, one member arose and asked:

            “Would the President permit a question from the floor?”

            “Certainly,” I answered.

            “My question is this: Since you limit the amount which one may own to $5,000,000 to start with, by this tax being collected every year fortunes will be reduced to approximately $1,700,000 to the person in a few years. How will there be any more big businesses; will this mean that all big businesses will have to be divided up, brick by brick ?”

            “No,” I answered. “…It is the same as it would be if a man died and left his property to be divided among his heirs. In this case, it so happens that many of the American people become the heirs instead…. We do not propose to break up big enterprises. All that we will do will be to provide that more people will share in the profits and ownership of big enterprises. In other words, instead of one man drawing down several million dollars out of the earnings in a year, the company will make just as much money as ever, but there will be thousands, maybe hundreds of thousand, perhaps millions of people drawing what formerly a few people drew in the way of profits. …..

          3. Tom S.,
            Federal Income Tax is a very important aspect of JFK. Those high pre-Vietnam rates you quoted are MARGINAL tax rates, unmentioned in your posts. They should be called Margarine Rates because they melt with handling. Most Americans have the idiotic idea that the super-rich paid those percentages on ALL their income in those times, whereas, even as they are set up, the taxpayer pays the top rate only after he passes some threshold that puts him in that bracket; i.e., a guy could make a billion a year with an “onerous” 50% highest rate, but if that threshold starts at 999 million, he only pays 500K, or 1/20th of 1 percent in FIT.

            And then there are exemptions and deductions, which the wealthy take the lion’s share of. Kennedy, on taking office, was livid to find out that nearly all the wealthiest Americans paid no FIT, or virtually none, due to preferential treatment for the rich. Hence the 1961 Tax Reform, which was demand oriented, not supply-side. Keynesian, not that oligarchy butt-kissing Friedman. The economy hummed along better than it ever has, that is until LBJ got a hold of it, put Nam on the credit card, caused stagflation, unemployment, violent crime, et al.

            There are a few great posts on ED Forum about just this in the topic “Does it matter today that JFK was killed?” on page 6. Jim DiEugenio #87 RE James Saxon’s great interview in US News & WR 11-63: loosen credit to small banks, states and consumers, NOT NY; from Battling Wall Street by Donald Gibson — modulated tax reform, tax credits; penalizing companies taking businesses abroad. JDiE #88 — JFK’s econ policies through Walter Heller; and a thumbnail sketch of our ruined economy since 1963. JDiE #94 — Promises Kept by Irving Bernstein, about JFK’s domestic policies. Ray Mitcham #96 — link to that wonderful interview with James Saxon, Currency Comptroller for President Kennedy, and the war with the Fed.

            There is a seldom-noted pattern in US tax history. From 1911 through 1986 there was major Tax Reform every 25 years, like clockwork. 1911, 1936 (FDR), 1961 (JFK), 1986 (shoved down Reagan’s throat). We missed the Reform due in 2011, due to the ascendancy of The Tea Baggers.

          4. Thank you Roy, I accept that the top bracket tax rate percentages of the 1950’s through the 1970’s were as misleading
            as the oft maligned, 35 percent corporate tax rate bemoaned by politicians who similarly to Trump, want the top rate on
            corporations lowered, or a tax “amnesty,” to bring the money back to the U.S. from foreign tax havens. They postures as if
            the effect would be that multi-national corporate owned cash would somehow be “ours” or “put to work, here,” if only they
            could achieve corporate tax “reform”. Large corporations invest where regulation and wages are the least, since at least the
            early 1990’s.

            One intent of the pre-Reagan, top tax bracket rates was to direct investment in high risk, resource depleting or depreciating asset endeavors, mining, oil drilling, real estate development/leasing, even owning/breeding race horses are examples of tax incentivized investments by high income tax filers.

            I think the data displayed in this chart supports my core point, as well as yours. Note the percentage of income of federal taxes paid by the poorest (left side of image) and of the top one percent, by year. (Right side of image.) The first calendar tax year Reagan policies influence was in 1982, Clinton in 1994, and GW Bush, in 2002.:


        2. Tom S.,
          Great chart. It should be noted that for FIT, these are percentages paid on ADJUSTED net income. So for the highest incomes that 17%, for example, could well be actually a fraction of REAL net income; that is, before deductions and exemptions for luxuries that working folk never take: jet airplane depreciation, mortgage interest deductions on several mansions (there should be a limit!), and the worst — “Charitable giving” to these “foundations” that pay their friends and family obscene salaries to sabotage democracy, the various 501s. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

          The best chart is the payroll tax paid by the quintiles and the top percenters. That shows, at a glance, the disparity. Actually, wage earners have another half kicked in by employers. The 6.2% for FICA becomes 12.4% and the 1.45% for Medicare becomes 2.9%. For a total of 15.3%, actually 15.3% of 107.65%, so around 15% even. We know whose labor that wealth must really come from. No deductions, no exemptions, starting from dollar one. The payroll taxes, unemployment taxes too (not seen in this chart), are vastly paid by labor. The wealthy get out of the majority of them. And FIT is grossly overstated for the rich if their deductions are not counted.

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