Bernie Sanders: ‘I’m not that much of a socialist compared to Eisenhower’

DES MOINES, Iowa — Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., scored some laughs and applause when he compared his self-described “Democratic socialist” policies to those of Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Sanders made the quip while discussing his plan to increase taxes for the extraordinarily wealthy after he was asked what rate he would set.

“We haven’t come up with an exact number yet, but it will not be as high as the number under Dwight D. Eisenhower, which was 90 percent,” Sanders said.

The top rate in Eisenhower’s administration was 91 percent.

Sanders’ remark generated a smattering of laughs and applause.

“I’m not that much of a socialist compared to Eisenhower,” he added to loud cheers.

Sanders was asked what rate he would charge after he talked about his tax plan in general. He described it as the only way to “revitalize and rebuild the crumbling middle class."

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"In the last 30 years, there has been a massive redistribution of wealth. And I know that term gets my Republican friends nervous. The problem is this redistribution has gone in the wrong direction. Trillions of dollars have gone from the middle class and working families to the top one-tenth of one percent who have doubled the percentage of wealth they now own,” Sanders said. “Yes, I do believe that we must end corporate loopholes such that major corporations year after year pay virtually zero in federal income tax because they’re stashing the money in the Cayman Islands. … I do believe there must be a tax on Wall Street speculation. We bailed out Wall Street. It’s their time to bail out the middle class, help our kids be able to go to college tuition-free.”

(Cover tile photo: Charlie Neibergall/AP)