WASHINGTON - U.S. billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump, the frontrunner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, called Monday for eliminating taxes for lower-income American workers while raising them for the wealthiest, including himself.
"It's going to cost me a fortune," Trump said as he stood in the lobby of his Trump Tower skyscraper in New York to unveil his plan for overhauling taxes in the world's largest economy.
He said the proposal would "trigger the economy, make everyone want to go back to work."
Trump called for eliminating federal income taxes for individuals making $25,000 a year and for couples earning $50,000, many of whom already pay little or no taxes in the U.S. In addition, he also called for a sharp cut in the tax rate on corporations -- from 35 percent to 15 percent -- and trimming the highest rate on individual taxpayers from 39.6 percent to 25 percent.
At the same time, Trump proposed ending or reducing most deductions and loopholes for the wealthiest taxpayers, the aspect that he said would cost him money. He said the overall plan would not add to the country's accumulated $19 trillion in debt.
He called for the renegotiation of U.S. trade pacts with other countries. He said China, Mexico, Japan and India "are taking our jobs like we're a bunch of babies. All of that will stop."
A political novice who has never held elected office, Trump has held a steady lead for several months in surveys of Republican voters about the 15-candidate field seeking the party's presidential nomination. The flamboyant Trump has tapped into a populist anger against Washington and regularly derides his opponents as "lightweights" or "losers."
Two other political outsiders -- retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and former technology company executive Carly Fiorina -- are trailing Trump in the political surveys. But all three are ahead of the remainder of the Republican field that includes numerous former and current senators and governors.