Carl Icahn: Gov’t Dysfunction, Greed Hurting US Economy

Carl Icahn Icahn EnterprisesImage: FBN

Billionaire Carl Icahn is not one to mince words. On Tuesday, Icahn published a 14-minute video called Danger Ahead, in which he argues that partisan gridlock in Washington DC, overly conservative Federal Reserve monetary policy and greedy corporate CEOs are a real threat to the U.S. economy.

Icahn sees trouble on the horizon for both the U.S. and global economies: “I see real tremendous problems ahead and I don’t think we are handling it right and nobody really wants to talk out. We are headed toward a strong correction and possibly a complete meltdown but not systemic like 2008. It won’t threaten the system, it’s just going to threaten your livelihood and net worth.”

Carl Icahn: “Not paying full taxes is an absurdity”

One of Icahn’s first points in his video is that the carried interest tax loophole needs to go. He says that Congress should have done away with the carried interest tax treatment that permits wealthy private equity and hedge fund players to pay lower capital gains rates on much of their income long ago.

He begins his argument here with a sweet defense of his hedge fund buddies on Wall Street (ah, Carl…we didn’t know you were such a puddycat), but then lays down the law on the greedy hedge fund scum, saying they should have to pay their fair share of taxes like everyone else.

Repatriation of international funds held by global corporations

Carl Icahn also argues that the U.S. Congress should get off of its dysfunctional duff and pass a law allowing American corporations to repatriate the $2.2 trillion of cash they have stashed away in Europe, Asia and elsewhere across the globe. These are profits that U.S. businesses have earned outside the U.S. by making and selling goods abroad. He says these firms should not be taxed at a 35% rate if they repatriate that money back to the U.S. because they have already been taxed in the foreign country.

Icahn goes on to say that most firms (such a Apple, in which he is a major shareholder) would be willing to bring the cash back to the U.S. (repatriate) and pay taxes if those taxes were at a lower rate, but that political gridlock has prevented a sensible compromise solution to this issue.

Icahn supports Trump for president

Icahn is also a Trump fan. In his video, he says that Donald Trump, who is a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, could be the right man to address the problems he mentions. Although Icahn notes that he disagrees with the Donald on the specifics of some issues, he says that middle class voters sense the same problems he is concerned about and that many of these voters are probably ready to back an “anti-establishment” candidate like Trump.

“We need a president that can move Congress and I think Donald Trump could do it. I disagree with him on certain issues and certainly would talk to him more, but this is what this country needs, somebody to wake it up,” Icahn argues in his video.

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