Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has railed against Wall Street in recent interviews and called for higher taxes on “hedge-fund guys.”
During a “Fox & Friends” discussion Monday morning, the real-estate magnate touted his Friday rally in Mobile, Alabama, as a sign that his middle-class supporters want hedge funders to start paying their fair share.
“They’re making a fortune and I want to take care of the middle class,” Trump said of hedge funders. “We had a tremendous rally in Alabama and people came up and they said, ‘You know, you’re treating us fairly. The hedge-fund guys are paying nothing.’ They’re paying nothing.”
Trump went on to argue that hedge-fund managers and traders contribute very little to society compared to real-estate developers like himself.
“And what are they doing?” he asked. “It’s one thing if you’re building buildings. I’ll take a little bit of [the profit]. If you build buildings, you put people to work. These hedge fund guys, they move around papers. Many of them, if the market goes up, they’re geniuses. If the market goes down, they go into a different business, frankly.”
The Republican businessman made similar comments during a Sunday interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
“The hedge-fund guys are getting away with murder,” Trump said then, according to a show transcript. “They’re making a tremendous amount of money. They have to pay taxes. I want to lower the rates for the middle class. The middle class is the one, they’re getting absolutely destroyed.”
Trump wouldn’t elaborate on specifically how much he would crank up taxes on Wall Street, however. Instead, he said during his Monday interview, hedge-fund traders should pay a “fair amount.”
“They should be taxed a fair amount of money,” Trump said. “It’s different from others, but they’re not paying enough tax. They’re making a fortune and it’s embarrassing. And they should be taxed. I know many of them. Some are friends, some aren’t friends, and I guess, probably after this, I won’t have too many friends. But at some point we have to take care of the middle class.”
The billionaire was also vague about how he would change taxes for the middle class. He said his priority was to simplify the existing code, suggested he’d support a flat tax in which everyone pays the same rate, and then said he supported a progressive system in which the rich pay a higher percentage of their income.
“Later on, if we go to a flat tax, that’s something else,” he said. “The magic number is a very complicated number. I’ve seen them from 15% to 20%. Nobody knows if it works. And the one problem I have with a flat tax is that rich people are paying the same as people that are making very little money. And I think there should be a graduation of some kind.”
Watch Trump’s Fox interview below:
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