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Transcript: Donald Trump on Housing Crunch

This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," November 8, 2005, that was edited for clarity.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: If Donald Trump is worried about a real estate crash, maybe you should be as well. Something is going on in Washington, he says, that's got him very, very worried.

On the phone with us now is the real estate mogul himself, Donald Trump. He is the chairman and the president of the Trump Organization.

Donald, good to have you.

DONALD TRUMP, CHAIRMAN & CEO, TRUMP HOTELS & CASINO RESORTS: Hi, Neil.

CAVUTO: What's your big worry?

TRUMP: Well if you are not allowed to deduct interest, this will be a disaster. This will be the biggest tax increase in the history of this country.

You know, Bush is going around saying he didn't raise taxes. But the fact is that, for homeowners and for people in business generally, this is going to be the biggest tax increase in history. And it's going to lead to a major recession, if not a depression. I mean, this would be a total disaster for the country.

And I actually can't believe that they're serious about even thinking it. I heard about it for the first time a couple of weeks ago. The real estate industry is totally up in arms. And businesses generally are up in arms, where they're not allowing interest to be a deduction. This would be a disaster for the economy.

CAVUTO: All right, now, it's just a proposal at this point, so, what has you so worried?

TRUMP: Well, you know, I have seen proposals before, especially recently, where they have proposals, and, all of a sudden, they become fact.

And if a thing like this became fact, you could forget about the economy. I have been saying for a long time -- and you know I have been saying it -- that, you know, the economy is as good as low interest rates, and keep the interest rates low, etcetera, etcetera.

Nobody ever thought you would be hit with interest deductions not being allowed. And, if that ever happened, this economy will die. And you will see ratings that are already low for the president go to a number that would be unprecedentedly low.

CAVUTO: You're not a big fan of the president's, are you?

TRUMP: No, I like the president. As a person, I like him. I don't agree with certain things. I don't agree with the war. I think the war is a disaster.

It's a total catastrophe. Some people are not happy with the way the New Orleans thing was handled. And, you know, you could make a case that, gee whiz, it was a tragedy that happened quickly, and people weren't prepared.

So, you know, you can't really hold that against somebody. The war is a disaster. There's no question about it. The interest rate deduction and not allowing it would set this economy into a tailspin that I think it would take decades to recover from.

CAVUTO: But let me ask you this, Donald. You have a vested interest. You are a real estate giant. So, obviously, you would fear that anything that could impinge on that wouldn't go well for you.

So, someone listening to you now would say, well, he's just worried that his business suffers.

TRUMP: Well, of course it wouldn't be good for me, but it wouldn't be good for the economy.

You know, I am part of the economy. There are lots of guys that do buildings and that run businesses. I mean, why would anybody invest anymore in a business? You would just sit back and you would say, we're never going to borrow. We are never going to grow the business. We are never do any of the things. We're not only talking about real estate, Neil. You know, they're talking about interest deductions not being allowed for business generally.

I mean, if you don't allow an interest deduction it would be a disaster for the economy.

CAVUTO: But what if you compensated by reducing the corporate taxes -- I believe both plans being bandied about are doing that -- as they would for the richest individuals in this country, that their top rate would be reduced, I think, from 35 to 33 percent?

TRUMP: The biggest single thing that they have to spur ownership, to spur business, is the interest rate and interest deduction.

It's a combination of two things. Keep the interest rates low, but you have to allow the deduction. Now, I haven't heard one intelligent person saying getting rid of the deduction would be a good thing. And I can tell you, you would have an en masse...

CAVUTO: So, why don't you run for president?

TRUMP: Well, that's not a bad question, I guess.

You would have an en masse riot in Washington. I mean, every homeowner would be affected by this. So, I can't believe it's real. And, as you say, you know, why do you feel so strongly about it when it's very, very, very early in the game? But I have seen things start off as nothing, as a little flicker, and, all of a sudden, it becomes a big flame. This would be a disaster for the economy. And, in my opinion, it lead virtually to a depression.

CAVUTO: Well, let me ask you, then, if this did come to pass, would you be angry enough to run for office?

TRUMP: I don't think I would be running for office.

CAVUTO: No? OK.

TRUMP: I mean, I love what I am doing. I have a wonderful business. I have a wonderful television show that's doing -- continues to do phenomenally in the ratings. I mean, it's been really a lot of fun.

CAVUTO: Yes. You're doing OK. But Martha Stewart is not. Is there bad blood with you guys or what is going...

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: No, Martha's show hasn't done well in the ratings. And I'm a little bit surprised by it.

I wish it would. You know, I own it, along with Mark Burnett. I own "The Apprentice." And I wish she would do better in the ratings. But, you know -- and I love Martha. So, frankly, it's -- I would really like to see the ratings on Martha's show do better.

But, as you know -- and you see them every day -- the ratings on my show have done very well. So, I'm just having a good time with what I'm doing.

CAVUTO: Yes.

TRUMP: I don't know that I would have a good time if they don't allow the interest rate deduction, however.

CAVUTO: OK.

Let me switch gears with you. We have had someone from Forbes here yesterday, Donald. There's this argument about how much you are really worth. There's a writer, of course, from The New York Times who has a book out who says you're worth only a quarter-of-a-billion dollars.

The Forbes folks, who had the advantage of looking at your books -- you opened it up for them -- say, conservatively, the $2.7 billion figure they attach to you is probably right, but is probably conservative. What do you say?

TRUMP: Well, look, Forbes is a very professional group.

And, as you know, The New York Times, between Jayson Blair and Judith Miller -- probably led to the war in Iraq, if you really look at what Judith Miller wrote -- they write things that are just unbelievable. The writer in question wrote a book. He wants to sell the book. Forbes has now proven him totally incorrect. And we will have some other people prove I'm even more correct.

And, as I remember, I think Forbes said it's an extremely conservative number at 2.7. And the last thing I want to do is open up my books. But the fact is, the writer is a terrible writer. He's not a talented writer.

As you know, Neil, I have done a lot of books. They have become best-sellers.

CAVUTO: Right.

TRUMP: All of them.

This writer is a terrible, terrible writer. And he didn't want to know the facts. He refused to listen to the facts, because of the fact that he wants to write a book.

CAVUTO: OK. Bottom line, you think you're worth a lot more than that, right?

TRUMP: More than the $2.7?

CAVUTO: Yes.

TRUMP: Yes.

CAVUTO: OK.

TRUMP: I think I'm worth a lot more than 2.7.

CAVUTO: All righty.

TRUMP: And I think probably Forbes feels that, too, but they're not willing to say it quite yet.

CAVUTO: OK.

TRUMP: But, as I heard, they said, conservatively, 2.7.

CAVUTO: All right.

Donald Trump, always a pleasure.

TRUMP: Thank you very much.

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