We learned last week that the Democrat front-runner for U.S. Senate and current lieutenant governor, Mandela Barnes, did not pay any income taxes and received health care coverage from the taxpayers via BadgerCare in the same year he purchased two condos and ran for public office. It is a pattern of behavior that has become all too familiar in Barnes’ short political career.
In 2018, Barnes ran for lieutenant governor. Despite the booming economy, he decided to forgo earning a living to devote his time to politicking, so he did not pay any income taxes that year. Lacking any declared source of income, he was also on BadgerCare that year. BadgerCare is Wisconsin’s Medicaid program that is meant to provide taxpayer-funded health care coverage for low-income Wisconsinites. I doubt that the taxpayers thought that the intent of BadgerCare was to pay for the healthcare of fulltime political campaigners, but that is what they did.
What is interesting about that year is that Barnes also purchased two condos within a single year. After all, the economy and the housing market were doing well, so surely Barnes thought that either he needed two homes, or it was a good investment. Barnes has claimed that he used inherited money for the real estate purchases (some enterprising investigating reporter should verify the source of the money). This indicates that while Barnes forewent earning an income that year, he was not without means. Yet, despite having means, he chose to consume taxpayer dollars for his health care. He could have applied for an individual health insurance policy through Obamacare, but that would have meant spending some of his own money on premiums. Why should he buy only one condo and pay for his own health insurance when there are plenty of chumps out there to pay for his health care? This has been Barnes’ pattern throughout his political life. As he proudly touts his “progressive” credentials, he burnishes his socialist credentials by using every opportunity to avoid paying his own way and to spend other people’s money. Such purloining is at the heart of socialism.
In 2019, the public learned that Barnes had not paid the property taxes on his condo. According to city of Milwaukee records, Barnes had two delinquent property tax bills in June. The property taxes were due by the end of January and Barnes still had not paid them by the middle of summer. When confronted with the delinquency, Barnes dismissed the news as “ridiculous” and claimed that the “check is in the mail” — the refrain of deadbeats since the advent of regular mail service.
Barnes’ reluctance to pay his fair share of the tax burden is understandable. Many property owners grit their teeth when the property tax bill comes due every year. But such frustration with the high cost of government is not a valid reason to withhold payment, and socialists like Barnes want government to cost even more. When caught, Barnes paid the bill. There is no telling how long that check would have taken in the mail had it not hit the news.
In the same vein, Barnes failed to pay a slew of parking tickets until he was forced to. It was only $108, but the fines went unpaid even as Barnes assumed the office of lieutenant governor. The unpaid parking tickets meant that Barnes could not register his car, so he did not drive.
Fortunately for him, as lieutenant governor, Barnes had access to a taxpayer-funded security detail that could chauffeur him around the state in the guise of “protecting” him. With all that full-time protection and being driven around in the taxpayers’ cars, Barnes did not feel much need to pay the fines and register his car.
Once again, the incredibly high cost of Barnes’ security detail — even on days when he did not have any public duties — and the unpaid fines came into public view. Once again, Barnes was dismissive of the allegations and claimed there was just some mix-up. And once again, he finally paid the bill.
Barnes’ thoughtless use of the taxpayers’ dollars, disregard for personal responsibilities, and entitled rudeness are not deviations from the norm. They are the norm. He has spent a career finding ways to spend other people’s money as he enriches himself. That is precisely what he will continue to do should Wisconsin’s voters be foolhardy enough to send him to the U.S. Senate on their behalf.
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