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Report: Steve Bannon wants to raise taxes on wealthiest Americans to pay for middle-class tax cuts

White House chief strategist Steve Bannon wants to raise taxes on the wealthy in order to pay for tax cuts for the middle-class, according to a new report. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

White House chief strategist Steve Bannon wants President Donald Trump and Congress to raise taxes on the wealthy in order to pay for middle-class tax cuts, according to a report from Axios.

Axios revealed Sunday that Bannon, who yields extreme influence with Trump and the West Wing, wants the income tax rate for the wealthiest Americans to be north of 40 percent of their annual income. Currently, the top tax bracket is 39.6 percent and applies to people who make more than $418,400 to $470,700 depending on filing status.

Bannon's tax hike on the rich would be a complete turnaround in Trump White House tax policy.

In April, the Trump administration rolled out their proposed changes to the American tax policy, which they billed as the "biggest tax cut" in U.S. history. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief economist Gary Cohn summarized the Trump plan to reporters at the White House. They explained that the plan would cut the number of tax brackets from seven to three, with the top bracket being 35 percent, the middle being 25 percent and the bottom being 10 percent.

The proposal would also cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent, eliminate most deductions, eliminate the estate tax — also known as the "death tax" — enact a one-time tax on money held overseas by America corporations, and repeal the Obamacare tax and alternative minimum tax.

Trump and his economic advisers wanted to quickly pass the tax reform plan by late summer, but tax reform has since taken a back seat to health care reform. Still, Mnuchin wants to pass the reform by the end of the year.

Mnuchin and Cohn at the time did not say whether or not the tax plan would be "revenue neutral," meaning it wouldn't add to the deficit. But now Cohn and Mnuchin are indifferent about a revenue-neutral plan, according to Axios.

In addition, Axios reported, the White House is warming to the idea of implementing tax cuts that last longer than the standard 10 years. The White House is reportedly gunning for 15 years, while some fiscal conservatives, including Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), favor cuts that last 20-25 years.

More from Axios:

Lobbyists who have met with Gary Cohn and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin say they've been struck by how impatient the two appear: Cohn has told associates that if tax reform doesn't get done this year, it's probably never going to happen. Sources who know Cohn speculate that he'll leave the White House the instant he concludes tax reform is dead.

While Cohn and Mnuchin differ stylistically — Cohn is brash and physically imposing while Mnuchin is mild-mannered — sources who've been meeting with them say they share the same philosophy: Go big or go home.

The last time the White House successfully passed a major tax reform bill was in 1986 under President Ronald Reagan. It was a major uphill battle for the Republican-controlled White House then, and it will likely be a similar battle for the Trump administration, which has faced staunch Democratic opposition since its inception.

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