Donald Trump, political neophyte and possible presidential candidate, has come up with a simple way to save Social Security, erase the national debt and slash taxes for working Americans:
Gouge the rich.
Trump, toying with a bid for the Reform Party nomination, on Tuesday unveiled the highly unorthodox plan, which would slap the wealthy--including Trump--with a onetime 14.25% tax on their entire net worth. Trump's personal contribution: $725 million.
The admittedly sketchy proposal, of Trump's own design, was immediately attacked by some financial experts, who worried such a drastic hit would set off a mad exodus of capital from the country.
"Mr. Trump is a graduate of the Wharton School of Finance, and this is something he has been thinking about for some time," said Roger Stone, head of Trump's exploratory campaign committee. "The concept of a onetime tax on the super-wealthy is something he feels strongly about, and he has worked with a team of economists to bring it to life."
Stone said Trump acknowledges the proposal "isn't comprehensive" and could still change, perhaps taxing the rich on 13% of their wealth instead, or spreading out the payments over time. Trump claims his plan would raise $5.7 trillion to pay off the national debt and save $200 billion a year in interest payments--money that could be used to cut taxes and replenish Social Security coffers.
Trump is convinced the concept is "defensible" and would actually lead to an influx of money into the country. Besides, the wealthy few it would target--people and trusts worth more than $10 million--"could afford it," Stone said.
He denied the Robin Hood-esque plan was a ploy by Trump to drum up headlines for his longshot candidacy. "I don't think Donald Trump has ever had a problem getting publicity," Stone said.