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This investor isn’t buying Donald Trump’s economic plan

Trump shakeup rattles GOP establishment

There may be more Wall Street names signing on to Donald Trump's presidential campaign, but count out Oaktree Capital co-founder Howard Marks.

In a letter to investors Wednesday, the longtime investor sounded off about various claims made by the GOP nominee for president, from an under-baked viewpoint on China's impact on the U.S. economy, to an election season he says represents ringside commentary from professional wrestlers more than a coherent political process.

Marks' "Oaktree Memo" has become a widely followed staple on Wall Street. He is also known for scooping up distressed debt during the financial crisis that paid off handsomely for clients.

He repeatedly hit both candidates in his letter from straying from the facts, but said it could simply be a sign of the times.

"I believe that, over time, elections have become more like popularity contests," Marks wrote. "The successful campaign speech isn't one that does the best job of analyzing the challenges and supplying optimal solutions. It's one that most provides what people want to hear."

Howard Stanley Marks, chairman and co-founder of Oaktree Capital Group LLC.
Brent Lewin | Bloomberg | Getty Images

One of the things Marks targets from the Trump campaign platform is his suggestion he can negotiate the federal debt.

Marks warns that there are short-term benefits from either rescheduling debt payments or defaulting on debt, "but we'd be unlikely to have the same access to credit markets, and we would certainly cease to enjoy the benefits of a high credit rating and resulting low interest rates."

The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Marks, who has made a number of prior donations to Democrats' campaigns, according to the Federal Elections Commission's website, didn't spare the rod for Trump opponent Hillary Clinton, either — nor did he for the press. Marks railed against what he called a media acting " more like spokespeople for one party" instead of maintaining objectivity.

However, he hammered the GOP nominee for what he called one-sided arguments and short-sighted policies.

"Mr. Trump's economic proposals would result in a more isolated U.S. economy," Marks wrote. "Cross-border trade and immigration will be significantly diminished, and with less trade and immigration, foreign direct investment will also be reduced… Pulling back from globalization, as Mr. Trump is proposing, will thus diminish the nation's growth prospects."