Trump: Obama Approaching Economic Crisis the Right Way

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," January 29, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Now "the Donald" goes "On the Record." What other Donald could we be talking about? Donald Trump, of course.

Moments ago Donald went "On the Record" about economic crisis.


VAN SUSTEREN: Nice to talk to again.


VAN SUSTEREN: Donald, if you could make the decision what to do with our economy, and you could dictate what everybody does, what would you do, and what's your level of certainty that your idea would work to get us out of this mess?

TRUMP: Greta, there is never a level of certainty. We're in a terrible situation. It has not been so bad since 1929.

But I think our current president is going about things the right way. I will say, the banks are not lending. The banks are taking in billions and billions of dollars, and they are not giving any of the money out.

So they have to get the banks to start lending, or they have to nationalize the banks.

I am not a big fan of the good bank, bad bank idea, because who wants the bad stuff, and basically the government will be taking over the bad stuff. If you are doing that, you might as well just nationalize the banks, fix them, make them better, and the sell them back to the private sector some time later.

But we are in a terrible, terrible situation in this economy, and, frankly, the world. Now, the world is blaming the United States for it, you know, but the world is in a real pickle.

VAN SUSTEREN: You said the president is on the right track. If the idea is not to rely on the banks because they are not lending money, the other two options are spending projects and tax cuts. And there is a big dispute between Republicans and Democrats on how much should be done of either one.

So let me ask you, what is the fastest way to get money into the economy? Is it through spending projects, or is it through tax cuts?

TRUMP: I do not think it has to be either. I really believe you can do both. Tax cuts are going to be great, and they're probably the fastest way. Projects are important.

And, frankly, the banks are important. When I have a big project to build and I want to spend a billion dollars to build a big structure or a big building of some type, you go to the banks. The banks are not there. The banks are out of business. So they are taking taxpayers' money, but they are not loaning it out.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why not - going back to the idea of bailing out these banks, which is a little different then the whole idea of these projects and the cutting taxes, why not put some strings attached to it?

If the banks are taking money and simply not doing what we expected, couldn't Congress have at least put some strings attached and said look, if you want this dough, you have got to be willing to lend it?

TRUMP: First of all, they're issuing dividends. Their stock price is still up. It's way down from what it was, but, in theory, if the government is giving the money, probably the government should be owning the stock.

But the fact is the banks are now putting the money out. They are going to China and buying banks in China. They are going to other places and buying other things. I do not want to mention the airplane stuff, because that's certainly been overused, but when you look at what has happened with the airplanes and all of that.

But the banks have billions of billions of dollars that is being funded by our government, and they are just not loaning it to people to buy apartments, to buy houses, to build buildings, to do anything. The banks are totally out of business.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is that because of the risk involved, or because they are simply selfish, trying to thing how to butter their own bread?

TRUMP: The banks are just trying to shore up their balance sheets. The banks have made horrible deals, and through greed and through syndication and through lots of other things that you have been reading about and know very well, the banks have been horrible, horrible deals. And all of this money coming into the banks is just going to shore up their balance sheet. But it is not being used for what it was supposed to be used for.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is that a huge congressional blunder in the sense that when the money was given to banks to bail them out, that the congressional mandate was not, essentially, "This is what you need to do with that, or do not take it."

TRUMP: I'm very surprised that they allowed banks that took all of this money to pay out dividends. I'm very surprised that they allowed no strings, that we are giving you this money but we want you to loan it out.

I am extremely surprised that that could happen, Greta. They obviously have very good lobbyists.

VAN SUSTEREN: Indeed they do. They're all over Washington.

In terms of the current situation, where there is this new stimulus bill that has some tax cuts and some spending. What I am hearing, and I have no way of knowing if this was true, is that some of the spending programs that are designed in this bill will occur very long into the future and may occur sometime after we hopefully our out of the recession.

Hence the tax cuts, which may be more expedient, are a better idea-- true or false?

TRUMP: That's what I'm hearing, and I am hearing that a lot of money is going to shore up states and the balance sheet of states. And I'm not saying that's not the right thing to do--it is probably the right thing to do, because states are taxed to the hilt. They need help. So it is probably the right thing to do. But that is not going to create jobs.

VAN SUSTEREN: You said this is the worst situation since 1929. What lifted us from 1929, which was a horrible thing, was the war effort, with World War II coming on and a tremendous war effort.

This stimulus bill is supposed to replace that, in theory, right?

TRUMP: That is what the theory is, and, hopefully, we do not have wars, although the way that the world is looking right now, it is definitely a tinderbox. But hopefully we won't have the war.

No, the war was something that actually helped us to get out of the depression much more so than what took place in the early 1930's by FDR.

VAN SUSTEREN: When happens oftentimes, as I don't need to tell you, Donald, but is that when the economy gets bad, people start holding on to their money very tightly. And, of course, people with more money are less inclined to do that because they have more money,

But as time goes on and the economy gets rougher, even the wealthier people are holding on to their money and not spending. People you hang out with, the richer people, in terms of personal consumption, not their business decision-but are they holding on tight, or not?

TRUMP: Personal consumption yes, and business also. I have had many deals that I would have done maybe two years ago that I am not doing now.

There are great opportunities. This is an amazing time to buy in my opinion, although every time you buy something, all of a sudden it just keeps going down. You look at what has happened today, you look at what has happened over the last month or two. Things just keep going down.

But this, I believe, is a great opportunity to create wealth. I believe it is an amazing time to buy, the best time in years.

VAN SUSTEREN: The economy is so much a part of how we feel about the economy. We have to feel inspired and have a lot of hope. So I think we have to figure out a way how to make this a challenge so that everyone really does want to pitch in and doesn't hunker and think it's all over, but wants to take a little chance.

TRUMP: We have the greatest country in the world. We have a young, vibrant, smart president who, I think, is going to do a really good job.

And, honestly, he has to do a really good job or this country maybe will never be the same. We had eight years of a horrendous president, a terrible president. You cannot get worse than Bush. And I really believe that Obama will be a great president, and I hope he is.

VAN SUSTEREN: And you, of course, have the last word on that, because I have to go. Donald, come back. We have more to talk about this, because the economy is not going away. Thank you, Donald.

TRUMP: So long, Greta.

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