Billionaire Carl Icahn has made a lot of money by forcing corporate CEOs to quit and replacing them with better managers. Now he wants to do the same to Congress.
Icahn just announced he’s using some of his substantial fortune to form a PAC (political action committee). It will have one goal: To force Congress to get its act together — or else.
“I am starting a Super PAC with my initial commitment of $ 150 million to help end the crippling dysfunction in Congress,” the influential 79-year-old hedge fund manager tweeted Wednesday morning.
Icahn is one of Donald Trump’s biggest supporters.
Trump has said repeatedly that he wants “his friend” Icahn to be his Treasury Secretary if he’s elected president.
In addition to starting a PAC, Icahn sent a letter to Congress this week demanding that it act to stop U.S. companies from leaving the country. Companies have been moving overseas so they can pay lower taxes.
Icahn’s top priority: Corporate tax reform
In the letter, he pushes for major corporate tax reform. It should begin with a tax holiday that will allow companies like Apple (Tech30) to bring the $ 2.2 trillion they are , holding oversees back to the U.S. at a very low tax rate — no more than 8%. That money can be used to invest and create jobs here.
Icahn told CNN’s Poppy Harlow that he has already heard from an “outpouring” of senators and congressmen who support his proposal, including Senator Minority Leader Harry Reid.
Reid’s office did not respond to requests for comment.
“The whole thing is really an absurdity. It’s something out of Alice in Wonderland,” Icahn said on CNN’s Quest Means Business. “You can’t really understand why anyone is against doing this in the government.”
Much like Trump, Icahn touts his more than 40 years in business and his skill as a good negotiator. He says it’s clear Congress, including right-wing Republicans, need to learn to make a deal.
Icahn plans to be more involved in politics
Icahn is a prolific tweeter and blogger who has long been vocal about the stock market and bad business leaders. But lately, his political views have taken center stage.
“More people like me should be coming out saying here’s a problem and here’s how we’re going to fix it,” he said.
Icahn initially declined Trump’s offer to be Treasury Secretary, joking that he doesn’t like early morning meetings. But Icahn later changed his mind after seeing Trump’s ratings rise and his performance in the first Republican debate in early August.
Trump has endorsed the idea of some sort of tax holiday to encourage companies like Apple to bring the cash they are holding overseas back to America.
Icahn warns the U.S. economy is very fragile
Billionaire Icahn has also warned that he thinks the U.S. economy is not in good shape.
“The current economic news is very disturbing. Even with interest rates close to zero, our economy is extremely fragile,” he wrote in the letter.
He calls it the “worst time imaginable” for Washington to allow companies to flee the country to set up shop in other nations.
Congress is also a mere 13 days away from a major crisis. The U.S. government won’t be able to pay its bills if Congress doesn’t raise the debt ceiling limit.
“I believe the time has come to also hold Senators and Congressmen accountable for the current gridlock in Congress that prevents important legislation from being passed,” he wrote in the letter.