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Trump takes heat on tax plan that critics say will make him even richer

October 4, 2015, 4:00 PM UTC
US tycoon Donald Trump arrives to speak at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Maryland, outside Washington, on February 27, 2015.
Photograph by Nicholas Kamm — AFP/Getty Images

Donald Trump faced criticism on Sunday about his tax plan that critics say will increase the deficit and will hugely benefit Trump and other very wealthy individuals.

In an interview on This Week, host George Stephanopoulos, citing the Conservative Tax Foundation, pointed out that Trump’s tax plan would increase the country’s budget deficit by about ten trillion dollars over ten years.

Trump’s defense was to cite the inaccuracy of projections. “What do they know?… if it works the way I want it to work it’s not [going to increase the deficit] because we’re going to bring back jobs.” Trump’s plan also includes substantial cuts, particularly to the Department of Education.

On a separate appearance on Meet the Press, Trump said he might eliminate some departments of the government, but won’t say which ones. He also said that he would be able to the military stronger, but also cut the Department of Defenses budget. Trump cited an instance of fraud where it cost the military nearly $1 million to send a part across the United States that could have been bought at a hardware store for less than a dollar. Host Chuck Todd countered that politicians have long said they would cut the budget through fraud and abuse and it never happens.

“I’m different,” Trump said. “I’m a business man, not a politician.”

Also under scrutiny were the gains Trump would make under the new plan. With the new progressive tax schedule, the top rate would decrease dramatically from 40% to 25%, the capital gains tax would come down from 23% to 20%, and the estate tax would be eliminated altogether. Altogether, these tax policies, Stephanopoulos said, would mean that The Donald—who told Stephanopoulos that he made $605 million last year—could save hundreds of millions.

But Trump said he has carried interest, though it’s probably not much. Carried interest is more of an issue in the private equity industry, not real estate. He said he also benefits from large deductions that would be eliminated under his plan.

“I think I’m probably going to end up paying more under this,” said Trump.

When asked about when he would file his tax returns, Trump dodged the question by pointing a finger at Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton: “I’m thinking about maybe [releasing the returns] when we find out the true story on Hillary’s emails.”

The multi-millionaire proudly told Stephanopoulos that when it comes to his taxes, he pays “as little as possible.”