Billionaire entrepreneur Donald Trump tells Newsmax that the corporate tax rate should be “a lot lower” than the 28 percent called for by President Barack Obama — and says Obama’s proposed boost in the tax rate on dividends would be “incredibly bad news” for jobs and investors.
The host of TV’s “Apprentice” also warns that gasoline prices will be going through the roof, predicts that Mitt Romney will win the Republican presidential nomination, and discounts any chance Rick Santorum would have of winning the general election.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV on Wednesday, Trump discusses the Obama administration’s new proposal to lower the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 28 percent while cutting back on deductions and loopholes in the tax code.
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“I haven’t seen the proposal yet, but any way you can lower the rate is good,” Trump declares.
“You have to be careful about taking away certain deductions, but [taking away] certain deductions wouldn’t be so bad.
“But I think you can go a lot lower than 28 percent. That would still keep us as one of the most taxed nations from a corporate standpoint. But any reduction is a positive.”
As for Mitt Romney’s call to reduce the rate to 25 percent, Trumps says: “I think 25 percent is a lot better than 28 percent.”
Trump quickly turned to his greatest concern of the moment: Rising oil prices.
“I think we should do something with respect to oil because the oil companies are really having a field day. They are doing numbers that are absolutely incredible, and they empower OPEC, because somebody has to sell what OPEC produces,” he tells Newsmax.
“I think something should happen with respect to the oil companies and I’m not talking about in a positive sense.
“We are in a very fragile period of time. Oil is going through the roof. Gasoline is going to hit five dollars, six dollars — who knows what it’s going to hit. There’s nobody representing us, and certainly nobody representing us well with respect to the OPEC nations, so they’re laughing all the way to the bank.
“If oil goes up and gasoline goes up to what I think it will, we’re going to end up with another problem like we had several years ago. It’s very, very sad.
“And I certainly see prices going up, because there’s no one speaking for us. We don’t have a president that calls OPEC and says, fellas, this is not going to happen. You’re not going to do this to us again. It’s a very sad situation.
“So it’s a fragile period and the more you can lower that tax rate the better.”
Trump opines that Obama’s tax proposal announcement, one day before Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is scheduled to outline his tax proposal, is politically motivated.
“The president certainly wants to do something to deaden the proposal that is coming out tomorrow by Mitt Romney,” he says.
“So certainly he’s doing that from a political standpoint.”
A Wall Street Journal article on Wednesday discloses that an Obama plan would triple the tax rate on dividends. The rate would be raised to the higher personal income tax rate of 39.6 percent that will kick in next year, while a phase-out of exemptions and a 3.8 percent investment tax surcharge would lift the new dividend rate to 44.8 percent, nearly three times today’s 15 percent rate.
“That’s unbelievably bad news for investors and unbelievable bad news for jobs, because frankly you won’t have very many jobs with that kind of incentive,” Trump declares.
“The incentive is taken away. That’s not good news.”
With a Republican presidential debate set for Wednesday night, Trump — who has endorsed Romney — comments on the former Massachusetts governor’s campaign.
“I think he’s doing very well. In the last three days there has been a surge with respect to him.
“I saw he was down quite a bit and now he’s up three or four points in Michigan. I think it’s important that he wins it. I don’t know that it’s the end-all.
“I think he will ultimately win Michigan and win Arizona and do very well in the debate.”
Asked if Romney will go on to win the GOP nomination, Trump responds simply: “I do, yes.”
Trump was also asked to explain the recent surge of Rick Santorum, whose poll numbers are on the rise nationally.
“I can’t really explain his surge,” Trump says.
“He lost by 18, 19 points when he was a sitting senator in Pennsylvania. I don’t understand how you can lose by a record-setting amount and then say, OK, I lost in Pennsylvania and now I’m going to run for president.
“The people in Pennsylvania gave him an F, for the word ‘flunk.’ There’s something about a group of people that know him well not wanting him, and now everyone else is supposed to say he’s wonderful.
“I don’t think he’s going to make it and I don’t think based on a lot of his views that he would have even a small chance of winning the main election. I don’t think he’ll win the election if he does make it, so it’s a problem.”
Regaining momentum is “going to be tough for Newt Gingrich,” Trump adds, “because he’s gone down in the polls over recent weeks.”
As for the Republican ticket that will have the best chance of winning in November, Trump says: “I think what you’ll have is Mitt Romney running with somebody, whether it’s Marco Rubio” or “Chris Christie, who’s terrific. There are a number of very good people who could be on the ticket and do very well.
“But we’ll have to see what happens because in four or five months from now, if gasoline is at five or six dollars a gallon, if oil is at $125 (a barrel) or $110 or $130 or $150 like it was previously, which in my opinion was the primary cause of the difficulties we had, you’re going to have a president who’s going to have a hard time winning.”
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