Since his viral mittens and mask moment at Biden’s inauguration—and the subsequent firestorm of internet memes—Bernie Sanders has been a nobody in American politics. Honestly, has the Senator from Vermont done anything notable since sparking a viral trend with his on-my-to-do-list-but-ain’t-my-whole-day look?

Well, for those of you clamoring for more fodder from the eternally uncombed, Brooklyn-accented socialist, you’re in luck. Bernie Sanders has released a new book, and its title is so dull, it could be a meme in its own right:

“It’s OK to Be Angry About Capitalism.”

Sounds like a Young Democratic Socialists of America club pamphlet. Or the title of something he could say in an eight-minute speech, but instead took 320 pages to write.

What’s worse, it sounds like yet another attempt to make people mad that they live in history’s most prosperous society. And yes, that’s exactly what Senator Sanders aims to do.

The book’s message could be summed up in a sentence: If anything is wrong in your life, it’s capitalism’s fault. Can’t pay your bills? Is the pothole on your street still unfixed? Did your cat die? If so, you should be enraged at the rich.

Are you a chronic underachiever pining for a “living wage” while working at Subway? Is your wife mad that you play Call of Duty: Warzone all day? Whatever your grievance, Bernie would prescribe being mad that there are people who make more money than you. Never mind that they probably work more than you, contribute more to society than you, and pay more in taxes. Capitalism has been cruel to you. Personally. You have been exploited.

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Of course, this analysis is totally devoid of any accurate context. In fact, Bernie counts on you being historically ignorant. Hard work, laziness, greed, and inequity are not inherent features of capitalism. They are inherent realities of human existence. And Bernie Sanders knows it. Conquering capitalism—the socialist’s favorite scapegoat—won’t cure any of the grievances he plays on. No, doing so would only make them worse.

Bernie Sanders purports to hate greed. In reality, he loves it. He loves that Americans are so greedy. Our greed is, in this Vermonter’s calculation, his best shot at political power. And what a brilliantly cunning scheme it is! Pitting the greed-stoked, “proletariat” masses against the politically negligible “one percent” is marketing gold—if one doesn’t mind undermining the country in the process, of course. All Bernie has to do is vilify the elusive “rich who don’t pay their fair share.” Entitled voters will follow him like the Pied Piper to the voting box.

But about this idea that the rich in America don’t pay their fair share. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Actually, no—the rich don’t pay their fair share, but not for the reasons Bernie would want you to believe. In reality, the rich in America pay more than their fair share.

In 2020, for example, the oft-abused “top one percent” paid shockingly more than all of the “bottom” 90% combined.

Scott Hodge, president emeritus at the Tax Foundation, laid out the data in a recent opinion piece.

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According to the IRS, in 2020, the top 1% of taxpayers (about 1.5 million taxpayers), paid $722 billion in income taxes. That amount accounted for 42.3% of all income taxes paid, the highest percentage in modern history.

By contrast, the bottom 90% of taxpayers (about 142 million taxpayers) paid a combined $450 billion in income taxes, or just 26.3% of the total, their lowest percentage of the tax burden in decades. That means the top 1% of taxpayers pay a far greater share of the nation’s tax burden than 142 million of their neighbors combined.

Surely, the rich pay a larger amount because they earn the most money, right? Not exactly. In 2020, the top 1% of taxpayers earned 22% of all adjusted gross income; their 42.3% share of the income taxes is nearly twice their share of the nation’s income.

The opposite is true for the bottom 90%. They earned more than half, 50.5%, of the nation’s income but paid 26.3% of the taxes — roughly half of their share of the nation’s income.”

In other words, students of socialism should be careful what they wish for. If “fair” tax codes were implemented in America, the rich would pay less, not more.

These are only elementary arguments against socialism, and Bernie Sanders’ case for being angry at capitalism has already collapsed.

No one ever argued capitalism was perfect. But is it the source of all evil? Far from it. Minimal amounts of research, data, and historical context make this fact overwhelmingly clear.

But Bernie Sanders does not need data or context. All he needs is to make you hate the rich.

All he needs is to convince you that, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, it’s OK to be angry about capitalism.

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