Elizabeth Warren might have just made the biggest mistake of her career when she said in an interview last week that Elon Musk, a billionaire and entrepreneur, didn’t pay any tax money, which elicited a huge response from the number one richest man in the world.
Warren said while on an interview with CNN, that she had seen Musk’s tax returns from 2018, so she knew he didn’t pay taxes.
Warren went on, “You know how much he paid in taxes? One of the richest people in the world? Zero. And he’s not the only one. Jeff Bezos, right, another one of the richest people in the world, he pays less in taxes than a public schoolteacher or a firefighter. And they do this because they’re only being taxed on income. They very cleverly make sure they have no official income. They just have all this stock that keeps building in value, building in value. They borrow against it. It’s just not right.”
Media reports say that Musk paid $0 in income taxes on the federal level in 2018, but he did pay $455 million between 2014 and 2018 in taxes. Just this last December, Musk tweeted that he would be paying more than $11 billion this year in taxes.
Musk responded to her comments on twitter, saying, “Will visit IRS next time I’m in DC just to say hi, since I paid the most taxes ever in history for an individual last year. Maybe I can have a cookie or something …”
Here’s a transcript from the interview on CNN, just because we don’t like linking to their videos and giving them extra views:
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: I only have a few more minutes, so I don’t think that’s going to happen.
I am curious, though, Elon Musk just donated billions of dollars to charity.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): Good.
KEILAR: He’s your favorite billionaire. Just kidding, he’s not. What do you say to that?
WARREN: Good. I’m delighted that he did this. I also believe, however, that billionaires ought to be paying taxes. And it shouldn’t simply be optional. You know, what we’ve now seen is both giant corporations and billionaires have enough tricks in the tax code —
KEILAR: Because he’s — just to be clear, he’s donating the stock, right, instead of the — he’s donating the stock.
WARREN: Yes. That’s right. But part of what happens right now is that, for example, Elon Musk, 2018, we’ve actually seen his tax returns.
You know how much he paid in taxes? One of the richest people in the world? Zero. And he’s not the only one. Jeff Bezos, right, another one of the richest people in the world, he pays less in taxes than a public schoolteacher or a firefighter. And they do this because they’re only being taxed on income. They very cleverly make sure they have no official income. They just have all this stock that keeps building in value, building in value. They borrow against it. It’s just not right. We need a system in America where everybody gets the benefits of being an American, but that means everyone pays a fair share to keep this country running.
KEILAR: All right. Well, we are going to be keeping an eye on what is going on certainly with your stock act, and as well with these Fed nominees at such a crucial time. Senator Elizabeth Warren, thank you for being with us.
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