The caricature portrait of Steve Bannon as evil anarchist is being rattled for some liberal-leaning voters as Bannon is reportedly proposing a 44% income tax on the rich (those earning over $5 million) — a tax meant primarily to benefit the middle class. Of course, that’s just income tax — the wealthy have other concerns like the estate tax which might be a victim of raising the rate on earnings. Plus, the hike on the rich sounds great to President Trump’s base — and Bannon has consistently proven to know how to appeal to the base.
Trump has been playing to perfection the role humorously depicted in that Sprint TV commercial where a CEO-type celebrates “stickin’ it to the man” before it’s pointed out to him: “But sir, you are the man.” The reports of Bannon’s largesse toward the middle class and his willingness to “stick it to the man” aren’t a departure, even if they seem so at first. Bannon hasn’t suddenly turned into Bernie Sanders, whose plans would raise tax rates across the board including on corporations. Bannon’s proposal also shrewedly gives the appearance of fulfilling a campaign promise, part of his communications expertise.