Despite Democrats' repeated talking points of record job creation under former President Barack Obama, California Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters said that middle-income people all over America "can't afford" to pay their federal income taxes.
Waters made the comment on MSNBC's "Hardball" with host Chris Matthews Monday — one day before the deadline for Americans to pay what they owe Uncle Sam. While April 15 is the traditional deadline day for federal income taxes, that day fell on a Saturday this year, so the final deadline was pushed to April 18.
"Americans all over this country, many are struggling to pay their taxes — middle-income people, working people — and many have to pay taxes that they can't afford," Waters told Matthews.
Waters then used the interview to jab President Donald Trump on his taxes — or lack thereof.
"And here we are — they are — struggling to pay their taxes," she said, "and this president is basically laughing at us. Because remember during the campaign, he said, 'I pay no taxes.' And I believe that. And many people believe that."
— All In w/Chris Hayes (@allinwithchris) April 18, 2017
Trump acknowledged during an October presidential debate that he used a $916 million business loss in 1995 to avoid paying federal income taxes for years. Leaked returns from 2005, however, showed that Trump earned $150 million that year and paid around $38 million in federal income taxes — an effective rate of about 25 percent.
Trump has often bragged about using the current tax code to his advantage, saying that he's "smart" do to so. The president has thus far refused to release any of his past returns, saying they are under audit by the Internal Revenue Service. However, being under audit by the IRS does not prevent one from releasing his tax returns.
The president campaigned partly on reforming the tax code, promising to reduce the tax rate for the middle class, in particular. Following the Republicans' failed attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare, the Trump administration vowed to tackle the complicated tax code.
According to a poll conducted by Ipsos for National Public Radio, about two-thirds of Americans believe federal income taxes on the country's middle class are currently too high. The same poll found that an overwhelming majority of Americans — around 70 percent — believe those making more than $250,000 per year should pay a higher tax rate.