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Sen. Bernie Sanders speaking at a Hillary Clinton campaign event at the University of Minnesota. (Photo: Lorie Shaull/flickr/cc)

As Trump Brags About Tax Avoidance, New Sanders Bill Aims to Fix Rigged System

'Special tax breaks and loopholes in a corrupt tax code enable billionaires and powerful corporations to avoid paying their fair share of taxes while sticking the burden on the middle class'

Andrea Germanos

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Tuesday that he will take a wack at the "corrupt" tax code by introducing legislation to close the breaks and loopholes that benefit the uber-wealthy like Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

The former presidential hopeful's announcement comes in the wake of reporting by the New York Times showing that Trump may have avoided paying federal incomes taxes for 18 years, and as the real estate mogul continues to break decades of precedent set by previous nominees by not releasing his tax returns.

"Special tax breaks and loopholes in a corrupt tax code enable billionaires and powerful corporations to avoid paying their fair share of taxes while sticking the burden on the middle class," Sanders said in a press statement.

"It's time to create a tax system which is fair and which asks the wealthy and powerful to start paying their fair share of taxes," he continued.

Sanders laid out the four specific loopholes his legislation would address in a fact sheet.

Trump said during the first presidential debate last month that not paying taxes "makes me smart."

Responding to the Times' story, Trump campaign surrogate and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said Sunday on ABC's "This Week" that it showed he was a "genius."

Offering a similar perspective, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Sunday on Fox News that it showed "Donald Trump is the person best positioned to fix" the tax code, adding, "There's no one who's shown more genius in their way to maneuver about the tax code as he rightfully used the laws to do that."

Sanders, however, said on "This Week" of Trump's possible federal income tax avoidance over nearly two decades: "assuming that it is legal, what it tells you is you have a corrupt tax system, which says to ordinary people, you're supposed to pay your taxes. But if you're a billionaire, there are all kinds of loopholes that you can utilize that enable you, who may be a billionaire, not to pay anything in taxes."

"You know, Warren Buffett reminds us over and over again—and he pays taxes—that his effective tax rate is lower than his secretary's. That is absurd," Sanders said.


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