Bernie Sanders’s Mitten Maker Blames High Taxes for Ruining Her Small Business

'Independent crafters get really taken for a ride by the federal government'

• January 22, 2021 11:20 am


Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) went viral on Inauguration Day for looking like an old grump while wearing an exquisite pair of handcrafted mittens. The image was instantly turned into what kids these days refer to as a "meme."

Because the mittens themselves were so popular, professional journos were compelled to track down the woman who made them. Slate published an interview with Jen Ellis, the second-grade teacher in Essex Junction, Vermont, who hand-sewed Bernie's mittens out of "repurposed and up-cycled sweaters."

Ellis, 42, said she was inundated with requests to purchase her mittens after the image of Sanders went viral, but added that the federal government's high tax rates on independent crafters had discouraged her from selling them as a business.

"I don't have much of a mitten business anymore because it really wasn't worth it," Ellis said. "Independent crafters get really taken for a ride by the federal government. We get taxed to the nth degree, and it wasn't really worth it pursuing that as a business, even as a side hustle. I mostly just make them as gifts."

Ellis supported Sanders in 2020 but conceded in the interview that "Biden is pretty great," even though she wished Kamala Harris were president instead. All three politicians—two Democrats and one socialist—are outspoken advocates for higher taxes.

Published under: Bernie Sanders