Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin killed a rumor that Steve Bannon, a White House chief strategist, advocated for a 40-precent-ish tax hike on the wealthy.
Mnuchin, essentially, cast the rumor aside as "fake news" stating that the Trump administration has no intention of increasing taxes in this capacity.
Axios' Jonathan Swan was the first who "scooped" that Bannon told his colleagues that he wishes to "have a 4 in front of it," referring to the top tax bracket that is currently at 39.6 percent.
Swan characterized the alleged scoop as "classic Bannon" in his efforts that advocate "pushing a maximalist position that's reviled by the Republican establishment." He then characterized President Donald Trump's coming tax reforms as "extremely aggressive."
According to the Associated Press, Mnuchin said that he has "never heard Steve mention that."
Plus, the idea isn't fitting for an administration that has long supported cutting and simplifying the current tax code. "It's another example of a false leak that's been reported," Mnuchin said.
Despite that, Neither Swan's nor Mnuchin's claims have been independently verified so speculation still abounds.
The Daily Beast reports that various conservative and libertarian groups that work with the administration on tax-related policy issues called the bluff--or criticized Bannon if the Axios scoop is true.
Jason Pye of FreedomWorks, a Koch-affiliated economic liberty group, told the Beast that the idea was ridiculous.
We have been in “regular contact with the White House,” but “we didn’t bring [Bannon’s tax hike proposal] up because we didn’t see it gaining any traction," Pye said in the report.
Heritage Action for America echoed the administration's intentions.
“The administration is committed to pro-growth tax reform, and hiking taxes is not part of that equation,” Heritage Action spokesman Dan Holler said via the Beast report, as well.
Trump's current tax plan focuses on alleviating the commitment on the middle and working classes, the administration argues. The proposed cuts are very popular among small business owners who, collectively, have voiced new confidence in the administration's push to be pro-business.
Of note, a simpler tax code is on the docket for Trump's plan. For example, instead of seven brackets, only four would be in place to reduce tax rates while also reducing the tax rate for independent contractors and most unincorporated businesses.
Who do you believe, the headlines or Mnuchin? Or none of the above? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
MORE TRUMP POLICY COVERAGE ON CAPITALISM.COM:
• Trump Takes Action on Trade: Pulls US Out of TPP, To Renegotiate NAFTA
• With Airbnb Success, Trump's Cuba Policy Should Be Commerce, Trade
• Trump Permits Oil Pipelines, Critics Question the Art of His Deal