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Buffett: Trump’s Tax Ideas A-OK; Clinton’s Economic Views Good, Too

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Warren Buffett went to bat for Donald Trump’s economic policy in an interview Wednesday on Bloomberg Television.

The chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway spoke with Bloomberg Television’s David Westin on a range of topics — including Trump’s tax policy, Hillary Clinton’s emails, income inequality and organized labor.

Here are the highlights from that interview:

On Donald Trump’s Tax Policy

“He’s going to spell out his economic program sometime in the next few weeks. I wouldn’t be surprised if I agree with quite a bit of [Trump’s] economic program,” Buffett told Bloomberg TV. Adding, “Well just from what he’s said, in terms of he thinks the rich should pay more.”

Trump has said he believes the rich should be taxed more and the middle class less. His proposal also includes eliminating the carried interest tax loophole.

“He thinks that carried interest should be treated instead as regular income, it’s just like they would be if they were investment advisors or anything of the sort,” Buffett said. Adding, “In terms of tax policy, I haven’t heard him say anything yet that I disagree with, yes.”

On Clinton’s Email Woes and Economic Outlook

Buffett, who has publicly backed Clinton, commented on how the presidential candidate has handled her private email server controversy.

“It hasn’t been handled well, but I’ve handled some things badly in my life, too,” he said. “You don’t want to have too many of them, but I do not consider that determinative at all of the kind of the person she would be as president.

Buffett said he still believes in her ability to lead the country.

“I believe that she has a vision for America that’s very similar to mine in terms of everybody included in the prosperity we enjoy,” he told Bloomberg TV. “And I think that she would work very, very hard at getting policies implemented that would lead to that. So that’s what really counts. I have made so many mistakes. Unless we’re going to put on a four-hour special, we’re not going to get to them all.”

On Income Inequality in the U.S.

Buffett, who has long thought of income inequality as a “huge issue,” told Bloomberg TV that he believes the government should do more.

“It needs to be addressed, because the natural forces of a market economy and capitalism will drive that disparity, unless government does things to help,” he said. “And government has done things to help over the years, but it needs to do more.”

Instead of increasing the minimum wage, Buffett suggests an earned income tax.

“Increasing the minimum wage, it’s nice if you get it, but it also leaves and causes more people unemployed,” he said. “The clearing system for labor is going to leave a lot more people out of $15 an hour than where it is now. But the real thing people need, if you’re poor, is not a higher minimum wage. They need money … And if they’re willing to work, the earned income tax credit is the way to go.”

On Organized Labor

Buffett also discussed whether organized labor could play a role in helping income inequality.

“Well organized labor, I mean there’s no question that in certain industries that the workers are doing better than they would have done otherwise. And it had some success in some places too, but the real problem isn’t the people who fit in well, which generally the people in organized labor do with our present system.”

Instead, Buffett says the problem lies with the people whose skills “just don’t command much of a market price.”

“You can have them all organize and it wouldn’t do any good in terms of making their skills worth a whole lot more in this economy,” he told Bloomberg TV. “But they are entitled. If the best they could do is be a cleaning lady, god bless them. They should have a reasonable life in a country this prosperous. And if you say the minimum wage is $15 an hour, my cleaning lady is probably not going to have a job. But if you say we’re going to change the earned income tax credit so that if you work 40 hours you are going to have the income of a person that made $15 an hour that can be accomplished.”

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