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Wilbur Ross: Need to Change 'Culture of All of the Government Departments'

By    |   Wednesday, 16 November 2016 06:41 PM

The private equity billionaire reportedly under consideration for one of the Trump administration's top economic roles said Wednesday that a priority of any new Commerce secretary must be to "change the culture" of government to become "pro-business."

In an interview on Newsmax TV's "The Steve Malzberg Show," Wilbur Ross, a specialist in restructuring failed companies — whose name has surfaced as a possible Donald Trump pick for Commerce secretary — deflected comment on whether he was in talks to take on the role. But, he suggested he would press ahead with the president-elect's plans on taxes because they would fuel corporate investment — and spending.

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"We have to change the culture of all of the government departments," he said. "They've got to become a pro-business culture. They're not right now and haven't been for quite a little while so it's very, very important to make the culture change because it's one thing to change the people at the top, it's the sergeants who run the army, not just the generals."

Ross decried the lack of capital investment by corporations under an Obama administration.

"Capital investment by corporations has been one of the big laggards in the recent very mild, weak recovery," Ross told "Newsmax Prime" host J.D. Hayworth in a separate interview.

And that will be accomplished by Trump's proposed corporate tax rate cut from the 35 percent maximum rate to 15 percent maximum, he said.

"The tax cut . . . in plain English means that anybody who's paying the full tax now as a business will get an immediate 30 percent boost to post-tax earnings," he told Hayworth. "Very few companies have earnings growth of 30 percent in a year, so that's a wonderful thing and it's a permanent thing."

"Every single category of wage earner with one or two little flukey anomalies that'll be dealt with in the final legislation gets a reduction," he added.

"It's a very progressive thing in the sense that the least percentage benefit goes to the higher bracket and the highest percentage benefit goes to the lower bracket. That's important because the propensity to spend is much higher than the lower brackets, which in plain English means they'll be buying things and that in turn will stimulate the economy."

Ross said "the sooner we get [the tax cut plan] through the Congress, is very good for corporate investors," he added, predicting it won't run into any conflict with the agenda of House Speaker Paul Ryan or Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

"The president-elect's tax plan is very, very similar to the one that Speaker Ryan and the House Republicans put together," he said, noting, however, "whenever you get into tax legislation you have 8,000 lobbyists, 8,000 invested interests kind of come poking around."

On the trade front, Ross also praised Trump's priorities.

"What's been missing in trade deals historically is a misperception of our position," he told Malzberg. "We are the world's largest consumer. The world other than the U.S. is a net exporter of $500 billion a year. We are the net importer of $500 billion. We absorb the entire trade surplus of the rest of the world."

"If you're the world's largest customer, you need to treat your supplier countries the same way a big corporation would treat its suppliers, play them off against each other and make more advantageous arrangements."

"We're already in a trade war," he added. "We've been in a trade war for quite a while but our troops have not manned the ramparts until now. It's been an invasion against the paper soldiers. That will change."

Ross also said Trump's on the right track as well with his plans to deregulate.

"We estimate that regulation costs this country $2 trillion a year. Just cutting out 10 percent of that would be $200 billion a year and after the president-elect's proposed tax rate of 15 percent, that would create about $70 billion after-tax earnings for American companies," he said.

"Again, that's money that will either be paid out in dividends or more likely mostly reinvested."

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The private equity billionaire reportedly under consideration for one of the Trump administration's top economic roles said Wednesday that a priority of any new Commerce secretary must be to "change the culture" of government to become pro-business.
wilbur ross, economy, donald trump, secretary of commerce
Wednesday, 16 November 2016 06:41 PM
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