In opening remarks at a conference at the New York Historical Society, Bush said eliminating tax cuts for the wealthy would hurt the ability of small businesses to hire, CNNMoney reported.
"If you raise taxes on these so-called rich, you're really raising taxes on the job creators," he said at the conference. "And if the goal is to create private sector growth, you have to recognize that the best way is to leave capital in the treasuries of the job creators."
"I wish they weren't called the Bush tax cuts. If they were called someone else's tax cuts, they'd be less likely to be raised," Bush added.
The Republican former president would not go so far as to criticize President Barack Obama for the Democrat-led plan to let the tax cuts expire at the end of the year because he said he doesn't "believe it's in the best interest of our country to undermine our president."