Trump Says "Would Be Honored" To Meet With Kim Jong-Un, Willing To Raise Gasoline Tax
In a surprising foreign policy pivot, President Trump told Bloomberg during an Oval Office interview that he would meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "if the circumstances were right."
“If it would be appropriate for me to meet with him, I would absolutely, I would be honored to do it,” Trump said Monday in an interview with Bloomberg News. “If it’s under the, again, under the right circumstances. But I would do that.” It was not immediately clear what circumstances Trump considers "right."
The US president added that “most political people would never say that,” regarding his willingness to meet with the reclusive Kim, “but I’m telling you under the right circumstances I would meet with him. We have breaking news.”
Kim’s regime, a source of heightened geopolitical tension over the past month, has repeatedly defied the US and international sanctions with continued development of its nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile program. It would mark the North Korean leader's first summit: as Bloomberg adds, Kim has never met with a foreign leader since taking charge after his father’s death in 2011 and hasn’t left his isolated country.
In January, Trump vowed that he wouldn’t let North Korea develop a nuclear weapon capable of reaching the U.S. mainland, and North Korea has labeled American military moves in the region as acts of “intimidation and blackmail.” North Korea has continued to test missiles this year, and last weekend the communist country arrested a third US citizen.
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On a separate matter, Trump said he’s willing to raise the U.S. gas tax to fund infrastructure development and called the tax overhaul plan he released last week the beginning of negotiations.
“It’s something (raising the US gasoline tax) that I would certainly consider,” as an aim to fund government infrastructure aspirations. Trump said this as part of a greater conversation about last week's tax plan, adding that "everything is a starting point." Earlier, House Representative Bill Shuster voiced the same sentiments on the subject: “The dollars are out there, so we get a piece of that.. Everything’s going to be on the table.”
As Bloomberg notes, the gas tax feeds into Highway Trust Fund and hasn’t been raised since 1993. Currently, the US federal excise tax on gasoline is 18.4 cents per gallon and 24.4 cents per gallon for diesel fuel. Wikipedia claims: "Federal fuel taxes raised USD35.2bn in Fiscal Year 2014, with 25.0bn raised from gasoline taxes and 10.2bn raised from taxes on diesel and special motor fuels."
In an article from March 2015, The Tax Foundation wrote an article comparing US gas tax rates to other countries globally: "The US combined gas tax rate ($0.53 per gallon) is actually a lot lower than rates in other industrialized countries. According to data from the OECD, the average gas tax rate among the 34 advanced economies is $2.62 per gallon. In fact, the US gas tax is the second lowest (Mexico is the only country without a gas tax) and has a rate less than half of that of the next highest country, Canada, which has a rate of $1.25 per gallon."