Graham: I’ll ‘Do Revenue’ on Debt, ‘Close Many Tax Loopholes,’ and ‘Increase The Rates on Hedge Funds’

South Carolina Senator and Republican presidential candidate Lindsey Graham said, “if you’re looking for a Republican, Joe, to do revenue, count me in” in a discussion of his tax policy, elaborating that he would “close many tax loopholes” and “increase the rates on hedge funds,” but “I’m not going to generate more revenue for the government unless we pay debt down with it” on Wednesday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Graham said of fellow candidate Dr. Ben Carson, “he’s so nice and most people are jerks in this business. I mean, at the end of the day, he’s conducting himself in a fine fashion, but you don’t want to take the VA and give it [to] the Department of Defense. He suggested we do that. What I suggest is you give every veteran a card to go to the doctor and hospital of their choice if the VA doesn’t serve them well. I like Dr. Carson, but I don’t understand what he would do to destroy ISIL. What would you do to to destroy ISIL different than President Obama?”

Graham added he “would send American ground forces in larger numbers to Iraq, about 10,000 rather than 3,500, couple aviation battalions, American helicopters flown by American pilots, trainers at the battalion levels so the Iraqi Army wouldn’t cut and run, forward air controllers so we can drop bombs on the right people, special forces to kill ISIL leadership. Then the hard one is Syria. Syria is ten times harder than Iraq.” And “how do you fix Iraq without Syria? And I don’t see a ground force inside of Syria capable of destroying ISIL, and replacing Assad, because that window has closed. There’s nobody left in Syria to train. So, you’ve got to get a regional army of Arabs and Turks, and we’ll have to be part of it, you’re talking 80 to 100 thousand people, to go in there on the ground in Syria, and pull the caliphate up by its roots. And we’ll have to be part of that force, maybe 10,000 of us, maybe.”

Graham was then asked, “Donald Trump says that billionaires shouldn’t be allowed to pay 14% in taxes. Do you agree with him?” He responded, “I would have ordinary income versus what they have today, if you pay down debt with the money.” And “That means that I want to do something like Simpson-Bowles. I will do revenue. No Democrat’s going to adjust the age of retirement, or means test benefits unless Republicans do revenue. So, I would take the revenue.”

Graham added, “I’m not going to generate more revenue for the government unless we pay debt down with it. So, I’m not going to go from 14% to 30%, whatever the number is, unless we have a deal to get us out of debt. But if you’re looking for a Republican, Joe, to do revenue, count me in.”

Later, Graham said, “I would close many tax loopholes, and I’d take the money to pay down debt. I would increase the rates on hedge funds, if you took the revenue to pay down debt, and asked Democrats to adjust the age of requirement and means test. That keeps us from becoming Greece.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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