Kentucky Republican Senate Candidate Rand Paul fired a line of defense on behalf of wealthy Americans on Friday night in arguing why he thinks tax cuts enacted under President George W. Bush should remain in place.
When asked to weigh in on how Democrats are handling the issue by Fox News host Sean Hannity, Paul said, "Well, my guess is they think they will lose on the issue and they see that the American public doesn't buy this 'soak the rich' or 'tax the rich.'"
The Tea Party-backed hopeful added, "What I've been saying in my speeches is 'do you remember when they said they wanted to tax the yachts?' They were going to tax these big boats that the rich people bought. Well, guess what? The rich people went to the Virgin Islands and bought their boats down there. But, you know who was hurt? The ship builders in Connecticut. You can't punish rich people. You end up punishing the people who work for them, or you punish the people who they buy things from. It makes no sense to soak the rich."
Whether or not the tax cuts approved by Bush -- which are set to expire at the end of this year -- 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 White House, as well as many Democrats, have voiced support for leaving the reduced rates in place, with the exception of for the top income bracket, or individuals earning more than $200,000, and families making more than $250,000, each year.
On CNN's 'State of the Union' on Sunday, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) predicted that Congress would permanently reinstate the tax cuts for middle class Americans while temporarily extending the cuts for wealthy Americans for one or two years.
A CNN/Opinion Research poll released last month found that just over half the country agrees with the plan. According to the survey, 51 percent say the tax breaks should remain instated for families making less than $250,000 each year, but not for households bringing in more than that income amount. By contrast, 31 percent favor allowing the cuts to continue for all taxpayers, regardless of annual earnings.