The Tesla CEO took issue with Elizabeth Warren’s claim that he paid “zero” in taxes
Elon Musk speaks during a press conference at SpaceX’s Starbase facility near Boca Chica Village in southern Texas, February 10, 2022 © AFP / Jim Watson/AFP
Elon Musk, the richest person in the world and CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, laid into Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) on Sunday after she claimed in a recent interview that Musk paid “zero” in taxes back in 2018.
Commenting on a snippet of Warren’s interview on CNN’s ‘New Day’, the billionaire tweeted that he “paid the most taxes ever in history for an individual last year,” adding that he may deserve a “cookie or something” from the Internal Revenue Service, which is responsible for collecting taxes.
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 …
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 20, 2022
Musk’s ‘cookie’ remark did not go unnoticed by commenters, some of whom responded with memes featuring Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster.
— Eva Fox ?❤️ (@EvaFoxU) February 20, 2022
— ??pjhornak?? (@PJHORNAK) February 21, 2022
Beware of the SEC, their name stands for "Steal Elon's Cookies" ?? pic.twitter.com/l7Th7pH2YB
— Renata Konkoly ?? (@RenataKonkoly) February 20, 2022
As for Warren’s appearance on CNN which triggered Musk’s response, the senator charged that “billionaires ought to be paying taxes and it shouldn’t simply be optional.” As an example of rich people wriggling out of paying their fair share, the lawmaker cited Musk’s 2018 tax returns, which according to Warren indicate that the entrepreneur paid “zero” in taxes that year. The Massachusetts senator went on to mention Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who Warren claims: “pays less in taxes than a public school teacher or a firefighter.”
Warren added that wealthy Americans get away with paying very little in taxes because they are “only being taxed on income,” and “they very cleverly make sure they have no official income,” relying on stocks that keep “building in value” instead. The cure for America’s taxation ills would be a thorough revamp of the system, Warren argued.
This is not the first time Warren and Musk have crossed swords over the issue of taxation. In mid-December, the senator took to Twitter to call for the “rigged tax code” to be changed so “The Person of the Year will actually pay taxes and stop freeloading off everyone else” – an apparent reference to Time magazine naming Musk ‘Person of the Year’ in 2021 a few days prior.
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It did not take long for the Tesla CEO to respond with a string of tweets in which he described Warren as an “angry Mom,” and said he would “pay more taxes than any American in history.”