CNBC’s John Harwood sat down with Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., new chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, to talk about taxes and whether the rich should pay more. Here’s what she said.
John Harwood: Your new colleague, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who’s going to be on your committee. She’s talked about a 70 percent top marginal rate. There was a question about that at the Davos Conference the other day, and everyone in the room laughed like that was a ridiculous idea. Do you think it’s a ridiculous idea?
Maxine Waters: I heard what they did at Davos when this was talked about. I believe in fair taxation. I believe that people who make lots of money should be taxed fairly, and they should not be relieved of that responsibility because they have the money, the resources, and the wherewithal to get around the law, to basically take advantage of the law. I just want fair taxation.
John Harwood: Do you think a system could be fair with a 70 percent top marginal rate?
Maxine Waters: I know that that would be very different in the way that it is looked at now, but don’t forget we have heard stories about secretaries paying more than their rich bosses. That’s not right. What is right is that we have a tax system that taxes you based on the amount of income that you make. I know that the top 1 percent or so was advantaged. And I know that major corporations and businesses really did reap a lot of benefits from that tax reform.
You know what I’m worried about? I’m worried about that Joe Blow that goes to work every day and he’s making $50-60-70,000 for their family and maybe they get behind and maybe they owe $10-15,000 that they need to work out payments with the IRS and they’re pounded. And people like Mr. Trump, who won’t show his tax returns, is able to manipulate the IRS so he’s never really called to task, and he’s able to take those laws and make sure that he works them in such a way that they’re to his advantage.