Financial guru and Donald Trump adviser Wilbur Ross told Newsmax TV that a priority of Donald Trump's administration will be to "change the culture" of government to become "pro-business."
Ross — whose name has surfaced as a possible Donald Trump pick for Commerce secretary — deflected comment on whether he was in talks to take on the role.
But he told "The Steve Malzberg Show" that every economic official in the incoming Trump White House must fulfill the president-elect's tax plans because they would spark corporate investment — and spending. "We have to change the culture of all of the government departments," the WL Ross & Co. chairman and CEO said.
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"They've got to become a pro-business culture. They're not right now and haven't been for quite a little while so it's very, very important to make the culture change because it's one thing to change the people at the top, it's the sergeants who run the army, not just the generals," said the specialist in restructuring failed companies.
Ross said Trump's proposed corporate tax-rate cut from the 35 percent maximum rate to 15 percent maximum is the key to reviving economic growth.
Ross hopes Trump can get the tax-cut plan through the Congress because it is" very good for corporate investors," predicting the blueprint won't run into any conflict with the agenda of House Speaker Paul Ryan or Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
"The president-elect's tax plan is very, very similar to the one that Speaker Ryan and the House Republicans put together," he said, noting, however, "whenever you get into tax legislation you have 8,000 lobbyists, 8,000 invested interests kind of come poking around."
He said Trump's plan to cut the maximum tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent "gives those companies an immediate 30 percent boost in post-tax earnings. How many holdings in anybody's portfolio got a 30 percent earnings jump in a year? That's huge."
He also said "the ability to write off capital expenditures including software immediately if you're not a highly leverage company is a wonderful thing. It should help to answer the questions about productivity and lack of productivity growth has been one of the big problems holding back wage growth and holding back the expansion of the economy."
On the trade front, Ross also praised Trump's priorities.
"What's been missing in trade deals historically is a misperception of our position," he told Malzberg. "We are the world's largest consumer. The world other than the U.S. is a net exporter of $500 billion a year. We are the net importer of $500 billion. We absorb the entire trade surplus of the rest of the world."
"If you're the world's largest customer, you need to treat your supplier countries the same way a big corporation would treat its suppliers, play them off against each other and make more advantageous arrangements."
Ross also said there is no logical reason to fear China if that nation balks when the United States acts in America's best interests under Trump.
"We're already in a trade war," he added. "We've been in a trade war for quite a while but our troops have not manned the ramparts until now. It's been an invasion against the paper soldiers. That will change."
An investor and businessman who made his billions advising bankruptcies and restructuring flailing companies, Ross was No. 20 in Newsmax's 100 Most Influential Business Leaders in America.
(Newsmax wire services contributed to this report).
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