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Bernie Sanders Owes Me Money

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File

Yes, Bernie Sanders owes me money, and probably a lot of other people as well.

Recent financial disclosures of Senator Socialist’s finances reveal that he made over $1 million in the past two years. His earnings mainly come from best-selling books Our Revolution, Bernie Sanders’ Guide to Political Revolution, and Where We Go From Here. Sanders concedes that his tax returns will affirm this information and assures his supporters that his tax returns, when released, will reveal very little of interest.


When asked about the millions he made, Sanders responded "If you write a best-selling book, you can be a millionaire, too."

His authorship of books for profit, one of the most purely capitalist enterprises available (except in the case of the current Mayor of Baltimore who used her office to sell her works) have made Sanders a millionaire several times over. He can enjoy a sumptuous life of luxury that many who may have even worked harder on their books than Sanders can even imagine.

That is far from fair.

Therefore, Bernie Sanders owes me and others some of his largess. After all you only need so much money, especially if you merely authored a few books.

But why does he owe me money?

As part of fulfilling my requirements to earn a doctoral degree in history from West Virginia University, I had to research and write a dissertation.  I chose to cover the development of the West Virginia Republican Party from the Civil War until the election of William McKinley in 1896.

While Sanders could simply scribble down his thoughts and allow assistants to do any heavy lifting of research, the university left me to do the work on my own.  This included a total of at least 20 hours researching the papers of Senator Stephen Benton Elkins alone, not to mention the even more voluminous papers of Congressman Alston Gordon Dayton. At least, however, those came in mostly typewritten format. Nathan Goff, Civil War hero, judge, and US Senator, preferred to send his correspondence in a beautiful, but almost indecipherable cursive style that, as far as I could judge, was his own unique invention.


Once I completed several months of primary and secondary source research, I had to write several chapters that incorporated that into a narrative, then get approval of each chapter from a panel of three experts in the field that included occasionally contradictory editing suggestions. 

Even worse, not only did the university not compensate me $15 an hour for a book that they eventually put in their library for free, I even had to pay for the privilege of its inclusion.

I can honestly say that I worked harder on my dissertation than Sanders did on any one of his books, maybe all of them put together. He, however, raked in fat-cat level millions to fund his mansions and vacations to locales I will never see while I worked for bottom-of-the-academic-world pay to put food on my family’s table.

Surely “Diamond” Bernie Sanders can spare some of his millions to compensate writers of dissertations, political and policy pundits, crafters of bad fan fiction, and others who toil away while he has enough to make money while he sleeps. 

Why does it matter that Sanders identified a niche market, created a product that would sell well to it, worked to create it, and then established the best relationships to market it and maximize his profits?  He writes.   I write.  He has millions.  I do not.


Time to redistribute, Senator Sanders.  I am not greedy.  I just want my fair share, but then again so do millions of others who feel they are just as, if not more entitled, than I.  Maybe we need a government committee to decide which people deserve to split your money and determine who gets how much.  

Anyway, you owe me money.  You can make the check out to Stephen A. Smoot PhD.

Cash will suffice as well. 

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