Republican front-runner Donald Trump began to flesh out his economic vision for America, and it includes raising taxes on the wealthy.
Trump said during a Wednesday interview on Bloomberg's With All Due Respect that he would like to change the tax code.
"I would change it. I would simplify it," Trump told hosts Mark Halperin and John Heilemann from the lobby of Trump Tower on New York's 5th Ave. Specifically, Trump targeted hedge fund profits, which are currently taxed at a lower rate than regular income.
"I would take carried interest out, and I would let people making hundreds of millions of dollars-a-year pay some tax, because right now they are paying very little tax and I think it's outrageous," Trump said. "I want to lower taxes for the middle class."
Asked whether his proposed changes meant he was prepared to raise taxes on himself, the billionaire framed his answer in terms of fairness.
"That's right. That's right. I'm OK with it. You've seen my statements, I do very well, I don't mind paying some taxes. The middle class is getting clobbered in this country. You know the middle class built this country, not the hedge fund guys, but I know people in hedge funds that pay almost nothing and it's ridiculous, OK?"
While Trump's position on taxing hedge fund managers at a higher rate is similar to the views expressed by Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, his stance on whether Congressional Republicans should battle President Obama over raising the nation's debt ceiling is anything but.
"I would say that it's worth the fight, because honestly there's so much fat in Washington, that if you had the right people in there you could cut it and there would be no problem," Trump said.
Still, Trump acknowledged that while he believed that Republicans should attempt to stand their ground, the reality is that the ceiling would once again be lifted.
"Short term, maybe it's going to happen," Trump said.
Trump also signaled he was willing to take on the issue of corporate inversion, by which companies are re-incorporated abroad as a way to skirt costs of doing business when based in the U.S., and said he had discussed the subject with American businessman Carl Icahn.
"I just spoke to him, and he said, 'such a big problem, corporate inversion.' Where we have two-and-a-half trillion dollars sitting outside, can't come in and now what's happening is companies are leaving this country," Trump said. "You know it used to be you'd leave New York for Florida, or you leave New Jersey for Texas or something. It used to be state to state. Now it's country for country. We have companies with thousands and thousands of jobs that are leaving this country to go out and get their money."
His solution to the problem involves lowering corporate taxes.
"Let the money come in, tax it at a much lower rate, and let the money come in," Trump said, adding. "This is money that could be spent in this country, and they can't get it in."
One of Trump's biggest targets of late has been the Chinese government, which has devalued it currency in the face of a stock market crash. During the interview, however, Heilemann noted that each devaluation results in lower prices on Chinese goods. "Are you against the notion of lower prices for American consumers?," Heilemann asked.
"No, what I'm against is when they devalue their currency and this has been a big thing with me for a long time. Not only that, Japan is doing the big devaluation now, so it's impossible for our companies to compete."
Odds of winning
With every new poll, Trump's support numbers seem to go up. Perhaps it's no surprise then that his own assessment of his odds of actually winning the presidency have also risen. Asked two months ago what he thought his chances were of becoming the 45th president, Trump told Halperin and Heilemann "anywhere from 10 to 20 percent." During Thursday's interview, however, he sounded a bit more confident.
"Let's say maybe 25 or 30 percent. If you're conservative. I'm conservative," Trump said.