Donald Trump on Budget & Economy

2016 Republican nominee for President; 2000 Reform Primary Challenger for President


The Fed should refinance debt to reduce interest payments

Trump boasted how "I would borrow, knowing that if the economy crashed, you could make a deal." When pressed, though, he said a country is different and he didn't mean to renegotiate the U.S. debt, only to "refinance" existing debt. Of course, refinancing debt saves money only when rates go down, which raises the question of what the Fed should do with rates.

Trump wants rates to remain low to prevent the dollar from appreciating, which would bring "major problems." But another consideration, he noted, was the [interest payments on the] national debt: "What do we do with all of the money that we owe everybody when rates go up and now all of a sudden we have to borrow at two points more? One point more, even, is devastating. It has to be handled very, very carefully." For the Fed to base interest-rate decisions on the national debt would blur the lines between monetary and fiscal policy. It's heresy by today's standards, but [was done in the 1960s].

Source: Wall Street Journal, "Lean on the Fed?", by Greg Ip , May 6, 2016

Keep mortgage interest deduction; knock out carried interest

Q: What tax loopholes would you close?

TRUMP: I'm going to be bringing back jobs from China, from Japan, from India, from Brazil. This is going on at a level that you have never seen before. We now have corporate inversions, where companies are moving out of the United States. And they will be moving out in big numbers if we don't do something quickly. And my plan stops all of that.

Q: So, you want to close the loopholes for tax havens?

TRUMP: And I want to bring back trillions of dollars that is stuck in other countries that we won't let back in because we don't have intelligent people running our country.

Q: What about other loopholes on the personal side? Mortgage interest stays in there? Charitable giving?

TRUMP: That's right. Mortgage interest deduction would stay, absolutely. Carried interest, though, would not stay. One of the ways that the hedge fund guys who make a lot of money pay very little tax, the carried interest deduction. I'm knocking that out.

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2015 interview by Bob Schieffer , Nov 8, 2015

Make economy dynamic; bring back jobs from China & Mexico

We're going to make a dynamic economy from what we have right now. We're going to bring jobs back from Japan, we're going to bring jobs back from China, we're going to bring, frankly, jobs back from Mexico where, as you probably saw, Nabisco is leaving Chicago with one of their biggest plants, and they're moving it to Mexico. We're going to bring jobs and manufacturing back. We're going to cut costs. We're going to save Social Security, and we're going to save Medicare.
Source: GOP "Your Money/Your Vote" 2015 CNBC 1st-tier debate , Oct 28, 2015

Use increasing debt ceiling as bargaining chip

Q: We're about to have a fight over the government's ability to borrow money, the debt limit. Do you think it's an economic problem if the debt limit is not raised? Will that hurt the economy?

TRUMP: Well, I think what they should do is use the debt limit as a strong negotiating tool to make other changes and to cut costs elsewhere. The Republicans don't know how to negotiate.

Q: But let me ask you about that question of the debt ceiling. Do you think that, if it's breached, that that is an economic problem, leaving aside the question of negotiation?

TRUMP: Well, I don't want to say. And I'll tell you why. We should use it as negotiation. And the problem we have in this country is that we're so predictable.

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2015 interview by Bob Schieffer , Oct 25, 2015

Strong on debt limit; ask for a pound of flesh

Q: Would you be willing to use a debt limit and risk the possibility of the country going into default to get more spending cuts?

TRUMP: OK, I would use the debt limit. I want to be unpredictable, because, you know, we need unpredictability. Everything is so predictable with our country. But I would be very, very strong on the debt limit. And I could see asking for a very big pound of flesh if I were the Republicans.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2015 Coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Oct 18, 2015

Grow the economy at 6% annually by ending inversions

TRUMP: Under my plan we're going to grow the economy. If China does a 7%, they're having a terrible year. We're saying we can't do a 3% and 4%.

Q: But we just had 4% the last quarter.

TRUMP: But if you look at the overall average, we're doing less than 2% for the year. If China can do 7% -

Q: Right, but an emerging economy is always going to do 6%, 7%. Our sweet spot is 3% to 5%.

TRUMP: Right. If we do 6% or 7% under my plan, everybody benefits in jobs.

Q: We've never had a year of 6% or 7%. How is that gonna look?

TRUMP: Well, number one, corporate inversion is a big deal. There are many companies right now that are talking about very seriously leaving this country. And you're talking about thousands of jobs.

Q: What you're saying is, you make it all up with growth.

TRUMP: Not all up with growth. We also start cutting.

Source: Meet the Press 2015 interview moderated by Chuck Todd , Oct 4, 2015

Cut defense budget, & entire EPA & Dept. of Education

Q: Are you going to get rid of entire departments?

TRUMP: I would get rid of some. For example, the Department of Education. I would certainly get rid of a lot of it. I want local education. We could save a fortune with Environmental Protection--

Q: what is another agency you'd get rid of?

TRUMP: Even in the military, I'm going to build a military that's much stronger than it is right now. But you know what? We can do it for a lot less.

Q: So you believe you can spend less money on defense than we do today?

TRUMP: I think we can make our defense much stronger and spend somewhat less money.

Source: Meet the Press 2015 interview moderated by Chuck Todd , Oct 4, 2015

We owe $19T and we need a businessman to bring us back

Q [to Fiorina]: You've dismissed Donald Trump as an entertainer. Would you feel comfortable with Donald trump's finger on the nuclear codes?

FIORINA: I think Mr. Trump is a wonderful entertainer. He's been terrific at that business. One of the benefits of a presidential campaign is our judgment and temperament is revealed over time and under pressure.

Q: And his temperament regarding the nuclear codes?

FIORINA: That's not for me to answer; it is for the voters of this country to answer.

TRUMP: As far as temperament, I think I have a great temperament. I built a phenomenal business with incredible, iconic assets. And I may be an entertainer, because I've had tremendous success with #1 bestsellers all over the place. But I will tell you this: What I am far and away greater than an entertainer is a businessman, and that's the kind of mindset this country needs to bring it back, because we owe $19 trillion right now, $19 trillion, and you need this kind of thinking to bring our country back.

Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN , Sep 16, 2015

If debt reaches $24T, that's the point of no return

If we have another 3 or 4 years--we're at $8 trillion now--we're soon going to be at $20 trillion. According to the economists--who I'm not big believers in, but, nevertheless, this is what they're saying--that $24 trillion--we're very close--that's the point of no return. $24 trillion. We will be there soon. That's when we become Greece. That's when we become a country that's unsalvageable. And we're gonna be there very soon. We're gonna be there very soon.
Source: 2015 announcement speeches of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Jun 16, 2015

We prospered after 9/11; we'll prosper after Great Recession

What transpired on Wall Street on September 15, 2008, is one day for the history books. I had predicted this would happen about two years ago and again about eight months ago when I appeared on Neal Cavuto's show. That the landscape of Wall Street could be altered this rapidly is something we should think about. Sept. 15, 2008, was the worst day on Wall Street since right after 9/11 attacks, with a fallout of some financial giants that we thought were untouchable.

Here's my view of this situation. We survived and prospered after 9/11, and we will do the same this time. The components are different, but I believe the government is doing the right thing with this financial mess. They have worked hard and long, but a mess is a mess. I won't equivocate on that. I saw the indications that the world was in for a tough period of time, so I can't say I'm terribly surprised.

Source: Think Like a Champion, by Donald Trump, p. 83 , Apr 27, 2010

2006: Warned about impending implosion of financial sector

As we've noticed with the recent upheaval on Wall Street, things aren't always as solid as they seem. That calls for individual responsibility and financial intelligence. I have always been wary of the stock market. It's a gamble, but it can be lucrative, which is the lure.

In short, there are no guarantees. That means being alert to nation and world markets. Do your homework daily I shouldn't need to emphasize this if you've paid attention to what's transpired in the United States from 2006 until now, which is late 2008. There was an implosion in the financial sector that was unprecedented in our history. I see it as a wake-up call.

I tried to warn people back in 2006. Now I'm back to tell you loud and clear that this area of your life is of great importance. We are all businessmen and women, whether you see it that way yet or not. If you like art and can't make money at it, you eventually realize that everything is business, even your art.

Source: Think Like a Champion, by Donald Trump, p. 86 , Apr 27, 2010

Known for "You're Fired!" but it's unpleasant & disruptive

It's ironic that I'm most known for the phrase, "You're fired!" [the catchphrase from The Apprentice]. It shows the power of television. I've come to terms with being so closely identified with a phrase that no one likes to hear or say. Firing anyone, even the worst, most unpleasant, inept jerk, isn't fun. It can also be very disruptive to your business. Making the decision to fire an employee can be agonizing, and actually firing the worker can be tough to carry out.

Firing an employee can leave your business in a hole; that's why so many companies hang on to less- than- desirable workers. To replace an employee, you have to go through the entire costly and time- consuming hiring process again. But frequently, you have no choice. If your business is to move forward, unproductive people must go.

Firing can be an essential and responsible business decision. It isn't pleasant, but lopping off a branch can save the tree.

Source: Trump 101, by Donald Trump, p. 32-3 , Oct 20, 2006

Money is part of your reward for succeeding

I'm the last person you would expect to downplay the importance of money, since I've been fortunate to earn lots of it. People associate me with money, and it's given me a remarkable life. But making money should not be your primary purpose because if it is, you can end up with little else.

In reality, most of us need to make money; we have bills to pay. However, other objectives can be equally, or more, important, including the stimulation and satisfaction you receive from your work and its challenges. There's also the pleasure of helping others and doing good or the opportunity to learn, grow, and deal with outstanding people, to name just a few.

Source: Trump 101, by Donald Trump, p. 85-6 , Oct 20, 2006

In early 1990s, I was $9B in debt; but I never went bankrupt

In the early 1990s, I had some financial troubles. In fact, I was $9 billion in debt. This amount of indebtedness would have crushed most people, but it made me determined to fight back. I took an attitude check and resolved to remain positive about my circumstances. I knew the conditions would change for the better, and they certainly have.

I honestly believe that my attitude, willingness to work hard, and determination pulled me through. Things are so much better now than they were back then, and I came out of it better than I had been at my previous best.

The most important lesson I learned from that ordeal was that I could handle pressure. At that time, many of my friends also fell deeply in debt. Some went bankrupt. Despite my tremendous debt and all the pressure, I never went bankrupt. I was able to work it out, and I learned I could take the heat. You don't know what pressure is until you owe billions of dollars to banks and they all want their money at once.

Source: Trump 101, by Donald Trump, p.122-3 , Oct 20, 2006

Prepare for upcoming crash, bigger than 1929

I hope Iím wrong, but I think we may be facing an economic crash like weíve never seen before -probably sooner rather than later. The next president could be in office for a stock market crash worse than the one in 1929. Iím not saying this crash will ruin us, but we have to anticipate it and know how to rebound. Right now Iím not seeing the leadership weíre going to need.
Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p. 26 , Jul 2, 2000

Optimistic about future of Atlantic City

A fact thatís gotten lost in all of the adverse publicity I encountered in 1990 is that, on the whole, my Atlantic City ventures have been extremely successful. Despite those tough times, I remain extremely optimistic about Atlantic City, and Iíll tell you why. If the town can draw tens of millions of people and generate many billion in revenues and tax dollars at a time when there is so much about the area that seems designed to keep people out, think of what will happen when improvements are made. Itís easy for people whoíve never been there to forget that crowds of people continue to pour in, by bus, by car, by helicopter, from almost everywhere east of the Mississippi.

The maddening thing is that thereís really no excuse for the way the town has developed. Atlantic City represents a unique situation; it is like no other town in America. In most places youíll find ideas but not enough money to carry them out. In Atlantic City there is plenty of money, but there are almost no ideas.

Source: Surviving at the Top, p.164-66 , Jul 2, 1990

Rent control only benefits a privileged minority

At 100 Central Park South, many tenants were fighting to protect the ultimate in New York real estate: beautiful apartments with great views-at an unbeatable location. Most important, with rent control and rent stabilization, they were enjoying one of the great windfall subsidies in the free world.

Rent control is a disaster for all but the privileged minority who are protected by it. As much as any other single factor, rent control is responsible for the desperate housing crisis that has plagued NYC for the past 20 years. Like a lot of failed government programs, rent control grew out of a decent idea that ended up achieving exactly the opposite of its intended effect.

Unlike most developers, I donít advocate eliminating rent control. I just think there ought to be a means test for anyone living in a rent-controlled apartment. People with incomes above a certain sum would be given a choice between paying a proportionally higher rent for their apartment or moving somewhere else.

Source: The Art of the Deal, by Donald Trump, p.167-69 , Jul 2, 1987

One-time 14.25% tax on wealth, to erase national debt

Trump wants to soak the rich, including himself. He proposed a 14.25% tax yesterday on the net worth of wealthy Americans.
Source: (X-ref Tax Reform) Boston Globe, p. A19 , Nov 10, 1999

Predicts 35% boost to economy from eliminating national debt

Financial analysts said that Trumpís proposed tax on assets over $10 million could be a financial disaster, pricking the stock market bubble or risking capital flight out of the country. Trump dismissed the doom-and-gloom scenarios. ďIt would not be a shock to the system,Ē he said, predicting a 35% boost in economic activity after he eliminates the debt, cuts income taxes and erases the inheritance tax.
Source: Boston Globe, p. A19 , Nov 10, 1999

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Ronald Reagan (R,1981-1989)
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Page last updated: Sep 15, 2016