In classic Trump fashion, the plan was big and bold. If enacted, Trump's plan would have been biggest tax hike, in total raw dollars, in history. In a word, it would have been huge.
The year was 1999 and Trump was toying with the idea of running for President as a third party candidate. The idea, which Trump says he no longer supports, was to impose a one-time tax of 14.25 percent on every American worth more than $10 million and raise exactly enough money to pay off the debt.
Trump himself would have had to pay more than $700 million. But he didn't care. He calculated his plan would erase the entire national debt and save the government millions in interest payments, allowing tax cuts for everybody else.
Here's how Trump described the plan on "Good Morning America" on Nov. 10, 1999:
"Well, basically, this would be a one-time tax, 14.25 percent against people with a net worth of over 10 million," Trump said. "It would pay off in its entirety the national debt of $5.7 trillion, and you'd save $200 billion a year. So taxes for the middle class would go way down, the estate and inheritance tax totally wiped out, and the Social Security system would be saved."
In a screaming front page headline that same day, the New York Daily News featured a photograph of Mr. Trump with the words, “SOAK THE RICH: Trump's way-out plan to end nat'l debt...Proposes one-shot $5.7 trillion tax on the super-wealthy.”
Trump also wrote about the plan in his 2000 book "The America We Deserve" as "bold, radical, realistic, and doable."
“Some will say that my plan is unfair to the extremely wealthy," Trump wrote. "I say it is only reasonable to shift the burden to those most able to pay.”
He portrayed tax hikes on the rich as a patriotic.
“Most of the truly wealthy people I know – and I know many – have doubled their net worth in the last few years," Trump wrote. "Yes, I believe we have an obligation to pay. Taxes represent the cost of freedom and its defense. It is a small price.”