With Tax Reform on the Table, Steve Bannon Is Pushing to Punish the Wealthy

Well, it’s certainly not going to affect me, but it’s still not a very conservative stance to punish success.

At some point, Republicans are going to get tired of unelected people setting policy in this White House, won’t they?

A new report from The Intercept says White House chief Svengali strategist Steve Bannon is behind the drive to saddle the “very wealthy” with a 44 percent to marginal tax rate.

Currently, that tax rate sits at 39.6, and the plan has been to lower it, as part of a tax reform bill.

Axios previously reported that Bannon was looking to raise the top marginal rate to “something with a four in front of it,” but the 44 percent bracket for those making $5 million and above is a more fleshed out proposal. Bannon has described himself as an “economic nationalist” and has pushed a populist agenda both through his previous outlet Breitbart News and and as an adviser to Trump. That contrasts with what Bannon calls the “globalist” wing of the party, made up by people like economic adviser Gary Cohn (though both Cohn and Bannon come from Goldman Sachs).

When the broad outline of the tax hike was reported earlier, Breitbart covered it favorably. The hike on the very rich would face stiff opposition from congressional Republicans, but find favor with Democrats.

Of course it would find favor with Democrats.

We can’t be sure it won’t find favor with President Trump, since that’s something he’s talked about, quite often, along the road to his rebirth as a “Republican.”

In a Wall Street Journal article earlier this week, the president toyed with the “what ifs” factor of tax reform, saying, “if there’s upward revision it’s going to be on high-income people.”

“I have wealthy friends that say to me, ‘I don’t mind paying more tax,’” he said. White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders was pressed on Trump’s comment at a televised briefing Wednesday, and said that further specifics of the plan would be released shortly, with an emphasis on tax cuts for the middle class.

IRS data for 2014 suggested a bit over 43,000 of those paying taxes in this country were making at least $5 million in income. Of those tax payers, around $600 billion is their grease for the wheels to keep this bus rolling.

How close this gets to becoming a reality remains to be seen, but if the 44 percent figure is broached in the upcoming tax reform bill, you know it has Bannon’s fingerprints on it.