Bernie Tax Hike? Only 15 Cents Per Day for Most Workers

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If you listen to or watch CNN or read one of their recent articles about Bernie Sanders’ plan to raise taxes on not just the wealthiest 1% but the other 99%, they’d like you to believe the sky is falling.

Here’s how CNN tells the story: The Vermont senator who’s seeking the Democratic presidential nomination said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that the across the board increase would come as part of his push to guarantee paid family leave.

ABC themselves rolled with a “Shocking” headline because of course, whenever the words “Tax” and “Hike” are used together in a sentence it’s guaranteed to bring in viewers and website traffic. And they also know that many people will never get beyond the headline.

ABC’s headline: Bernie Sanders Says Proposed Payroll Tax ‘Would Hit Everyone’

The truth of the matter is that Bernie’s planned 0.02% tax amounts to around $97 per year for people making $50,000. To break it down further that amounts to less than 30 cents per day. But CNN and ABC know that a lot people only read the headlines and not what is actually in the article.

27 cents
A quarter and two pennies is roughly what Bernie’s tax hike will cost the American worker that makes $50K per year.

But how many people actually even make the $50k per year that we used in our example? Not as many as we’d like to report. According to Social Security, the median wage for American wage earners in 2014 was only  $28,851.21 – so at least half of the workers in the country would face a tax increase of  around.15 cents per day. That’s it. 

But in return for those pennies per day, America has a chance to begin to catch up to most of the civilized world and guarantee paid family leave. Of course that’s an issue that the rich in this country don’t worry about too much because they can afford to take the time off, that is if their job doesn’t already provide paid leave for them.

From Bernie’s interview on ABC: No tax hikes below the top 1%? “I didn’t say that. I think if you are looking about guaranteeing paid family and medical leave which every other major country has so that when a mom gives birth she doesn’t have to go back to work in two weeks. Or an illness in a family, dad or mom can stay home with the kids. That will require a small increase in the payroll tax. Senator Gilibrand’s legislation. And we can accomplish that just with the small increase in the payroll. That’s going to hit everybody. That would hit everybody. Yeah, it would but it would mean we were drawing the rest of the industrialized world and make sure that when a mom has a baby she can in fact stay home with that baby for three months rather than go back to work at the end of one week. We are the only country, only major country that doesn’t guarantee paid family and medical leave.”

So remember when you see the headlines TAX HIKE – do yourself (and our brothers and sisters) a favor and pull out a calculator, it will help to calm the hype machine.

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G.A. Casebeer