Bernie Sanders made his socialist stance clear in 2019 during the primaries for the 2020 election. As he elaborated on his desire to implement a tax on the millionaires and billionaires within America, many wondered just how much Sanders himself is worth.
Bernie Sanders is not a billionaire. In 2019, Forbes placed his net worth at approximately $2.5 million, while Politico reported it as being slightly lower, clocking in at $2 million. Regardless of the actual amount, clearly, he is far below the billionaire mark.
While Sander’s worth is not in the billions, he has still amassed a considerable amount of wealth in recent years.
How His Early Years Shaped His Political Views
Bernie Sanders was born on September 8, 1941, in New York. He grew up in Brooklyn, and was the youngest child to his parents, Jewish immigrants from Poland.
From an early age, Sanders was privy to the struggles faced by working-class families. As he later said, “Money was a constant source of anxiety. Money was something the family, the whole neighborhood, was constantly preoccupied with.”
During university, Sanders became heavily involved in the Civil Rights Movement. He was a member of the Congress of Racial Equality and was part of a sit-in against the segregation of off-campus housing in 1962.
In 1963, he participated in the March on Washington, saying, “It was a question for me of just basic justice – the fact that it was not acceptable in America at that point that you had large numbers of African-Americans who couldn’t vote, who couldn’t eat in a restaurant, whose kids were going to segregated schools, who couldn’t get hotel accommodations living in segregated housing. That was clearly a major American injustice and something that had to be dealt with.”
He completed his political science degree in 1964 and eventually relocated to Vermont. He worked a number of odd jobs, always in close proximity to his community, and his interest in politics steadily grew.
Beginning a Political Career
By the 1970’s, Sanders had started to pursue jobs within the public office.
In 1981, he was elected the mayor of Burlington, Vermont and was subsequently re-elected three times.
He rapidly became known for his “democratic socialist” politics, wrinkled clothes and windswept hair. Despite his status as an underdog, in 1990 he earned himself a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Sanders has always been outspoken on the issues that matter to him, and he openly criticized both Democrats and Republicans when he felt they were being short-sighted.
In 2002, he vocally opposed the Iraq War and in an address to the House, he said, “As a caring Nation, we should do everything we can to prevent the horrible suffering that a war will cause.”
Race for Presidency and Amassing Wealth
The past few decades of Sanders’ life have been a slow climb in bringing about real change while also amassing a small fortune.
His humble beginnings have climbed from lower to middle class, and now he firmly sits in the millionaire tax bracket.
He was elected to the Senate in 2006, and in 2016 he launched his first presidential campaign. A review of his finances during that time put his net worth under the $1 million mark.
His presidential campaign broke records, and in March 2016, it was reported that Sanders had reportedly raised over $96 million dollars in contributions.
A large portion of Sanders’ personal wealth has come from the three books he has published between 2016 and 2018.
According to CNBC, he made approximately $850,000 in both 2016 and 2017 from book royalties alone, and over $390,000 in 2018.
Sanders’ salary from his position within the Senate also banks him approximately $174,000 a year.
Sanders and his wife, Jane O’Meara Sanders, have also been quietly investing in several properties as their wealth has grown. They currently own three homes and Forbes has estimated the value of these properties is around $1.3 million.
In 2019, he announced another presidential bid for the 2020 election, but after Joe Biden took a strong lead, he swiftly ended his campaign in April 2020 and threw his support behind Biden.
Despite his unsuccessful bids for presidency, Sanders’ has not been deterred in pushing for political reform.
In 2019, Sanders proposed new taxes on the upper class of America, including a 45% tax on estates worth anywhere from $3.5 million to $10 million.
As much of his opposition has gleefully pointed out, his tax laws may soon apply to his own fortune.