Steve Forbes warns Trump: Don't raise taxes on wealthy

Steve Forbes warns Trump: Don't raise taxes on wealthy
© Greg Nash

Wealthy publishing executive Steve Forbes on Monday argued that President Trump shouldn't raise taxes on the wealthy, saying that people don't care if the rich have more money if their own financial situations improve.

"That kind of so-called populism Ronald Reagan would have choked on," Forbes told CNBC Monday. "What people want is a vibrant economy. They don't care if Bill Gates gets richer. They want to know is my paycheck going up, are my prospects improving."

Forbes, who supported Trump during the presidential campaign, is the latest person to push back on reports that White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon wants to increase the top individual tax rate from 39.6 percent to 44 percent. Key GOP lawmakers have also said they don't intend to raise the top rate and instead want to lower tax rates across the board.

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Congressional Republican leaders and the White House have said they want to pass an overhaul of the tax code by the end of the year. But Forbes thinks that lawmakers will instead end up just passing tax-rate cuts.

"We're going to get tax cuts," he told CNBC. "Reform means redoing the code. It's too late for that. They botched that." 

Forbes also said that tax cuts should be retroactive to January or July of this year "so people get a big refund in April."