Trump considers bid for president

Peter Johnson

In perhaps the largest surprise of the 2000 presidential campaign, Donald Trump has indicated an interest in becoming a Reform Party presidential candidate. Widely known as a billionaire/playboy and the top real-estate developer in New York, Trump’s public persona has been filled with self-promotion and controversy.
While Trump has been reluctant to officially declare his candidacy, he has formed an official exploratory committee, delivered economic and foreign-policy plans and promoted himself as a possible presidential candidate.
The son of a construction contractor and real-estate speculator, Trump was born in New York in 1946. His father, Fred, built his wealth by developing government-subsidized housing in the suburbs of New York City. Trump received a finance education at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.
Trump first became a member of New York’s elite by joining Le Club, an exclusive private club for chief executive officers, models and millionaires. His connections and understanding of the wealthy formed during his membership helped Trump start his own fortune. He started by renovating the Commodore Hotel and is best known for his own construction: the Trump Tower.
In the early 1990s, Trump faced a massive personal debt of $975 million and lost control of much of his real estate to creditor banks.
His financial woes coupled with a messy public divorce had many predicting the final demise of Trump.
Through shrewd loan re-negotiations and innovative new projects such as Atlantic City casinos, Trump was able to rebuild his fortune. He is now ranked as the 105th richest person in the United States, with a personal fortune of roughly $2 billion.
Trump plans to use his financial savvy to turn the nation’s debt around. His Economic Plan for America forms the cornerstone of his campaign platform.
“I propose a one-time 14.25 percent net worth tax on individuals with a net worth of greater than $10 million,” Trump said.
The plan would raise $5.7 trillion and eradicate the national debt.
“That would save us $200 billion in annual interest payments, Trump added. “I would use $100 billion of this savings for tax cuts on the middle class and put the other $100 billion in the Social Security trust fund every year.”
This policy would personally cost Trump an estimated $700 million.
Trump theorizes that his measure would stimulate the economy. “Paying off our debt and cutting taxes will cause such an economic boom in this country that no one will walk away from the opportunities,” he said. “One of the basic rules of economics is that capital always follows opportunity. With no debt and lower taxes, I actually predict an influx of capital.”
He has also promised to repeal the 55 percent tax on inheritances, a policy Trump says would garner support from the rich.
Trump would also implement a lottery to fund national defense. The National Security Lottery would dedicate every cent to funding an anti-terrorism campaign. “Talk about a good reason to buy a lottery ticket,” he said.
Trump also favors ending U.S. involvement with organizations like the World Trade Organization. He likened the Clinton administration trade policy to a binge run by “a bunch of weak sisters” who act as “a whipping post.”
Foreign policy is the other main concern of the preliminary Trump candidacy. He favors the protection of Israel and a harder stance toward North Korea and Russia.
Trump asserts that he would stop economic aid to Russia, alleging that they are using the aid to develop more nuclear weapons.
His stance on North Korea is more militant; Trump supports a first strike against North Korea using conventional weapons. “North Korea exports exactly one thing to the rest of the world: trouble.” Trump said.
Trump must defeat Pat Buchanan for the Reform Party nomination, which has some doubting the seriousness of his candidacy. Yet Trump, as always, remains confident of his chances.
Trump wrote in his book, “The America We Deserve”: “I believe non-politicians represent the wave of the future and if elected I would make the kind of president America needs in the new millennium.”