Bannon Calls for 44% Tax on Incomes Above $5 Million

  • It’s unclear if Trump would support rate for highest earners
  • White House plan released in April called for 35% as top rate

White House chief strategist Steve Bannon’s plan to raise the top income-tax rate for America’s highest earners could find some support among congressional Republicans as part of a populist message to sell a broader tax overhaul, according to one conservative lawmaker who has heard the proposal. Bloomberg's Joshua Green has more on 'Bloomberg Markets.' (Source: Bloomberg)

White House chief strategist Steve Bannon supports paying for middle-class tax cuts with a new top rate of 44 percent for Americans who make more than $5 million a year, according to a person familiar with his thinking.

It’s unclear whether President Donald Trump would support the move, which would bring the top rate, currently 39.6 percent, to the highest level in 30 years. Trump has said he’s focused on tax changes that would help the middle class, but an analysis this month of the tax outline the White House released in April shows it would mostly benefit top earners.

That plan condensed the seven existing individual income tax rates to three, with a top rate of 35 percent. Income thresholds weren’t included in the outline.

White House officials and congressional leaders have been meeting weekly to agree on a framework to rewrite the tax code. So far, they haven’t announced any decisions on how deeply to cut tax rates or whether the lost revenue should be offset, and how.

It’s not the first time that kind of tax increase has been suggested.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton had proposed a 4 percent surcharge on Americans making more than $5 million annually. It was part of a set of proposals that her campaign said would ensure the wealthy paid a higher effective tax rate than the middle class.

Bannon’s call for a 44 percent top rate was reported earlier today by the Intercept.

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