On Sunday, 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) appeared on “Fox News Sunday” with host Chris Wallace.
During the segment, Wallace asked Sanders about his rhetoric around billionaires.
You talked in your last answer about income inequality, and I want to press down on that with you. Here’s something that you said last fall: “I don’t think billionaires should exist.”
First of all, a few billionaires let’s talk about – Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos – have created more than a million jobs, probably more than a million extra in terms of fallout as it goes from their companies, and created trillions of dollars of wealth. Why shouldn’t they share in the wealth that they create, which is helping not just them, but has helped a lot of Americans?
Sanders replied that he has “nothing personal against any billionaire,” then went on to talk about the 1% versus the “bottom 92%.”
[When] you are looking at an economy and an economy today where the top 1% owns more wealth than the bottom 92%, where over the last 30 years, the top 1% has seen a $21 trillion increase in their wealth while the bottom half of America has actually seen a decline, where real wages have essentially been stagnant for the last 45 years, workers in America not making a nickel more in real dollars than they did 45 years ago, when you got a half a million people sleeping out on the streets of America tonight homeless, when the very, very rich are getting richer, when you’ve got half of our people living paycheck to paycheck, 87 million people uninsured or underinsured, 45 million people dealing with student debt, young people can’t afford to go to college…
Wallace pushed back, saying that Bill Gates “created a whole new way for people to get information, to discuss, to communicate with each other,” and that a world without Microsoft is “unimaginable.”
Sanders noted that Gates “deserves great credit” for his accomplishments.
One, he’s created a great economy. He’s giving away billions of dollars. Some could argue that he’s done a lot more with his wealth than any politician would, which is one question. And the other is, how far would you go as a Democratic Socialist in terms of worker control of businesses?
Sanders responded, saying that “no one is denigrating the achievements of Bill Gates or anybody else, but we have to look at culturally what’s going on.”
The senator then spoke about the Walton family being “worth well over $100 billion” while Walmart employees make approximately “$11 or $12 an hour,” adding that “enough really is enough.” He continued railing against the wealthy, saying, “Does Mike Bloomberg really need $65 billion? To see his wealth increase by $15 billion in the last three years?”
Sander also spoke about his idea “to put workers on the boards of directors of major corporations,” which, he claims, would allow workers to feel like their “ideas matter,” and make it less likely that corporations would move overseas for cheap labor.
“Democracy to me means not just voting every four years, having a bit of a say in the job that you’re working at,” Sanders added.