The real takeaway from President Donald Trump's reported $750 federal income tax payments, according to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., is that the U.S. tax system is not working.
"The problem here is that the system itself is broken, and you've got to ask why," Warren said in an interview with CNBC's Jim Cramer during the virtual Delivering Alpha conference Wednesday. "And you want to know why? The reason is because of the Donald Trumps of the world, the people who have used their money and used their influence to get Congress to keep rewriting those laws."
Warren referenced the blockbuster New York Times report published Sunday that claimed Trump had paid $750 in federal income tax in the year he won the presidency and in his first year in office. The report also found that Trump had paid no federal income tax in 10 of the previous 15 years. CNBC has not viewed the income statements reported by the Times.
Trump, who is reputed to be a billionaire, previously called the report "fake news." During Tuesday's presidential debate he said he has paid "millions" in federal income tax and said "you'll get to see it," though he did not provide a firm date. Trump has previously cited an audit by the Internal Revenue Service as a reason why he has not disclosed his income statements, though the IRS has said that would not bar a taxpayer from sharing such information.
White House spokesperson Judd Deere said in a statement that Trump "has been clear, he's paid millions of dollars in taxes."
Warren also said Trump's "one legislative achievement" was a tax bill that benefited millionaires and billionaires. Deere said Trump's tax cuts allowed middle-income families to exempt more income from taxes, doubled the child tax credit and said the legislation allowed companies to announce raises and bonuses for workers.
"The President's Tax Cuts and Jobs Act helped build the strongest, most inclusive economy in our history and helped lay a firm foundation for this country to bounce back quicker than anyone predicted from the COVID shutdown," Deere said in the statement. "While President Trump wants to lower taxes, Sen. Warren and her colleagues want to raise taxes on hardworking families."
Warren and other Democrats have advocated for wealth taxes aimed at taxing assets of the richest taxpayers, which would generally not raise rates on lower and middle-class families.
Warren said Wednesday that the problem with the system is that because wealthy people can get away with paying less, other taxpayers need to fill in the gaps.
"It's not just that Donald Trump doesn't pay taxes, it's that somebody else has to pay to keep this country going," Warren said. "Nurses pay a big share, teachers pay a big share, grocery store clerks pay a big share, and Donald Trump just pays a tiny little bit."