House races

Trump would focus on foreign affairs to rein in US debt

“My policy is very, very simple,” he said. “I would tell
China, very nicely, ‘Fellas, you’re my friend, I like you very much.’ I’ve made
a lot of money with China, by the way, a lot of money with China. I would say,
‘We are going to put a 25 percent tax on all your products coming in.’

“As soon as they believe it’s going to happen, they will
behave so nicely, because it would destroy their economy,” he said.

Trump’s comments arrive amid a fierce national debate over
how to rein in the country’s soaring deficit spending. Republicans want to
slash funding for federal programs, largely to fund new tax cuts they say will
encourage job creation. Democrats, on the other hand, are wary that steep cuts
this year will send the economy swirling back into a recession just as it’s
showing signs of strength.

Trump this week seemed to reject both strategies. He blasted
the Republicans’ new 2012 proposal — crafted by House Budget Committee Chairman
Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) — which would turn Medicare into a voucher-style benefit,
arguing that lawmakers should do more to protect seniors.

“I’m very concerned about doing anything that’s going to
tinker too much with Medicare,” he said. “I protect the senior citizens. Senior
citizens are protected. They’re lifeblood, as far as I’m concerned.

“Paul Ryan is too far out front with this issue,” Trump
added. “He ought to sit back and relax.”

Similarly, Trump rejected both tax hikes and defense cuts as
strategies to rein in the country’s deficit spending.

“We need great defense,” he said. “I guarantee you, of all
of the Republicans, I’m the strongest on defense.”

Fueling the budget debate, Standard & Poor’s on Monday
revised the outlook on its rating for U.S. sovereign debt from stable to “negative” —
an indication that the nation’s triple-A status is in danger of being downgraded.

Adding urgency to the debate, Congress is soon poised to
vote on whether to raise the nation’s debt ceiling — a move opposed by a number
of conservative Republicans, even as a growing list of economists and business
leaders are warning of economic chaos if Congress fails to act.

Trump, for his part, dismissed the notion that raising the
debt ceiling is crucial to economic stability.

“What do economists know? Most of them are not very smart,
and if you look at their predictions over the last 20 years, most of them are
wrong most of the time,” he said. “I would not raise the debt ceiling.”

A Washington Post/ABC poll released Tuesday puts Trump
second, behind Mitt Romney, in a field of 15 potential 2012 GOP presidential
candidates. The reality TV host said he’ll announce his decision whether to
run before June.

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