Fewer than one in three Americans favor extending tax cuts enacted into law by former President George W. Bush when they expire at the end of this year, according to a CNN/Opinion Research poll released Friday.
The survey finds that 31 percent say they support allowing the cuts to continue for all taxpayers, regardless of income level. By contrast, the poll finds 51 percent believe the reduced rates should be kept in place for families earning less than $250,000 each year, but not for households bringing in more than that cash amount.
Whether or not the tax cuts approved by Bush should be extended for the wealthy has emerged as a hot topic for debate among lawmakers and candidates running for office in the midterm election cycle.
The Obama administration, as well as many Democrats, have signaled an intent to leave the decreased rates in place, with the exception of for taxpayers earning an annual income that exceeds $250,000.
"There are many good reasons not to extend the high-end parts of the Bush tax cuts having to do with the fear that a temporary extension could be made permanent," explained chief economist to Vice President Joe Biden, Jared Bernstein, to the Huffington Post earlier this week. "What you are talking about -- a $30 to 40 billion range in terms of adding to the deficit by extending the high end -- could easily become $700 billion over a ten-year budget window."
Meanwhile, Republicans on a large scale have argued for an extension of all the tax cuts based on the justification that the lower rates would better enable economic growth and job creation.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office forecasted on Thursday that allowing the reduced rates to remain in place could give the economy a sizable jolt in the short term; however, by extending the measure in full for all Americans, the federal deficit could increase to the point that the debt accounts for 8% of GDP by 2020.