Trump: Oil Companies 'Ripping Off This Country'

Oil companies are fixing the price of oil and should suffer penalties, according to developer Donald Trump.

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

Speaking on CNBC this morning, the real estate magnate said taking punitive measures against companies reaping big profits in a capitalist society is against his nature, but the energy situation is unique.

"I consider myself to be a great capitalist, but I think the oil companies have been ripping off this country and the world for a long time," Trump said. "I can see doing something against the oil companies. They're making numbers--nobody's ever seen numbers like this. They and OPEC and lots of people together are having a lot of fun."

Trump also said the US economy is at depression levels in terms of real estate, but he nevertheless has used the drivedown in prices as a buying opportunity.

"Outside of Manhattan the United States is closed down," he said. "I've built up a lot of cash, and what I'm doing is going around and buying things that two or three years ago were absolutely impossible to buy."

To help the country out of its economic slump Trump recommended keeping the dollar cheap and not raising taxes, a point he made in a discussion about the difference between presidential candidates Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee, and Republican John McCain. Obama generally favors raising taxes on top earners and large companies, which McCain opposes.

"Raising taxes at this very critical juncture would be a very bad thing for the economy," Trump said.

He also commented on tight monetary policy by banks, which have been hesitant to loan money even though the Federal Reserve has dropped interest rates dramatically over the past nine months.

"The banks are virtually out of business," he said. "The banks are not loaning money, and no matter how strong you are, no matter how strong your cash position, it doesn't make any difference. It's very, very hard if not impossible to get any money."