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Romney's 47 percent respond en masse

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We're getting lots and lots and lots of letters about Mitt Romney's secretly taped comments on the number of Americans "dependent" on the government (read today's story here). And, no, not a one in support or defense. Here's a sampling.

I am starting to feel sorry for Mitt Romney. I really am. He’s a pretty decent fellow, and I think he did a good job as a rather progressive Republican governor of Massachusetts. But in his attempts to appeal to radical right-wing extremists in his own party, he has mortgaged his soul, so to speak.

His most recent comment, that almost half of the American public see themselves as victims, is so outrageous that I almost cannot imagine that he said it. I can imagine Rush Limbaugh saying it, however, and it is this kind of pandering to the right wing that will ultimately doom his campaign for the presidency.

Peter Andrews

Did Mitt Romney include himself in the 47 percent of Americans who don’t pay taxes? Does 14 percent on $250 million put him in that category with the rest of us “victims”?

Georgie F. Brizendine


Who to blame for the fate of the 47 percent? The blame game is applicable for all those 47 percent or 53 percent or some percentage of the 53 percent (maybe 5 percent) who pay less than 13 percent like Mitt Romney. The 5 percent or so not only pay less than 13 percent but they also hide money offshore to avoid the IRS.

It is not the people to blame but the IRS tax codes. In the tax debate, Romney must clarify his position to implement the most fair tax codes for all. No tax for the rich or to pay less than 13 percent or increase cuts across the board except defense, which consumes all our GDP growth are not the criteria for the presidential leadership in this period of the economic crisis.

Amalendu Chatterjee, Ph.D.


First, Romney declared he wouldn't worry about the "very, very poor" because they had a safety net to keep them from crashing. I assume the net he referred to includes unemployment benefits, food stamps, medicare and medicaid, housing assistance, and social security--the very programs he and his party have pledged to cut. But dismantling the safety net won't increase his concern for the poor; on the contrary, now it's almost half of the entire nation he can't be bothered with!

I could hardly believe my ears when I heard him say nearly 50 percent of our citizens feel "entitled" and have no sense of personal responsibility for their lives. I've known for quite a while now that the man cannot think and talk at the same time, but this insult is beyond comprehension. Just who does Romney want to govern? Who will he care about if he wins? I don't think it will be me.

George Johnson



Mitt Romney says, “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what ... who are dependent upon government ... these are people who pay no income tax.”

I’m not one of those 47 percent, but I’m voting to re-elect President Barack Obama. I am a small-business-owning, Southern white male who has never made the kind of money Romney has, yet I pay a higher percentage of my income in taxes than he does. In fact, of those 47 percent he says paid no income taxes, 61 percent paid payroll taxes. And when you combine their employee and employer contributions (15.3 percent), those folks paid more than Romney (13.9 percent) as well! So who’s paying their fair share?

Michael Lindsay


News flash. I’m dependent on government. I’m a moocher. What do I mean? I have a good-paying job that provides health care benefits. I pay my bills. I own a home, a car, can afford groceries and clothing.

However, I depend on government to keep me safe against terrorists, psychos, drug lords and common thieves. I depend on government to be there if my house catches fire. I depend on government to keep me from being cheated in business or investments. I depend on government to secure my savings in a bank. I depend on government to build roads, pay for my grandmother’s health care, make my food safe, keep my water clean, educate the next generation and protect my right to say all of this publicly.

None of the above is guaranteed, and sometimes government doesn’t do its job well. But I depend on it.

Jennifer McGowan


After a career that included three tours of duty in Vietnam and 45 years of income-tax-paying employment, I will soon receive my first Social Security check and officially enter what Mitt Romney derisively refers to as the entitlement society.

Of course, while my federal income tax will be zero, I will still be paying nearly 15 percent of my modest income in various state, local and other federal taxes (property taxes, sales taxes, gas taxes, etc.).

On behalf of my fellow senior entitlees, I want to thank all the younger workers for shouldering the current income tax burden, just as we did for your parents and grandparents during their retirement years.

Rich Moore


I’m not surprised by Mitt Romney’s fundraiser remarks. We already know he’s the “Etch-a-Sketch” candidate, adopting whatever views he thinks will appeal to his listeners. What’s truly frightening is that his remarks, full of contempt for half of all Americans and effectively declaring class war, were what he thought would appeal to donors at his $50,000 a plate dinner. Contempt for the “lower classes” may raise a lot of money – let’s just make sure it doesn’t win elections!

Thomas Petersen


Mitt Romney claims his disdainful remarks concerning 47 percent of the American public were “off the cuff.” My experience in life, especially listening to politicians, is that an off-the-cuff remark is generally more revealing of a person’s true character than the carefully scripted statement, crafted to fit a 30-second sound bite.

Romney says, “I’m sure I could state it more clearly in a more effective way than I did in a setting like that.” OK, let’s hear it! I can’t imagine a way to make a sensible restatement of his disdainful remarks that would somehow show Romney in a better light. What context are we missing that will magically turn an insult into praise?

I can’t imagine what he could say, but I’d like to hear him try.

Chris van Hasselt

Romney and Ryan are claiming that they don't want people to be dependent upon the government.  Their solution is to make the government undependable.

Romney's work at Bain Capital shows how it works.  Employees of the companies Bain acquired were dependent upon the retirement programs they had earned, so to rescue them from dependency, the retirement funds were rerouted to executive bonuses.

Next, Romney liberated thousands of people from the jobs they were dependent upon.  As a result, the companies themselves became so undependable that most of them went into bankruptcy.

In this way the stockholders were freed from their dependency upon stock ownership.

As nice as it sounds to hear that Romney will rid us of dependency, let us not forget that before Romney liberated all those folks from their dependencies he took everything of cash value away from them, and he won't tell us where he put it.

Bo Chagnon

I must be part of the 47% since I rely on both Social Security and Medicare (government programs I contributed to for many years). During my 50-year banking career I saw plenty of changes. Mergers and acquisitions both pre-Bain and post-Bain  resulted in no benefit to those offered outsourcing personnel services and lower level or no jobs. This 40-year process did result in de-regulated banks too large to fail and in large part, the financial system debacle that followed.

In a way, we became the model for companies like Bain to expand this process to other industries internationally, sometimes using questionable sources of capital and always resulting in fewer jobs or jobs shipped to lower wage markets like China.

My last employer eliminated its pension plan 10 years ago, reduced or eliminated health care benefits to retirees and partially matched my salary contributions to a 401(k) using company stock which has escalated in value from over $40 a share to under $10 a share.

Oh, I also benefitted from a government backed student loan to get an advanced degree while I worked my way through college. I'm definitely a 47 or 48 or 49%'er.
Thanks for your incites; I'll vote for someone else!

Tom Killion


I am one of the 47% that Mitt Romney is talking about. And guess what? I pay taxes. In fact I pay a higher percentage of my income in taxes than Mitt Romney-local, state and federal. I drive on tax funded roads, I went to tax supported public schools and went to a tax funded public university on tax supported loans. The GI Bill-the bill that provided money for many people I know to go back to school so that could make a good living to support their families. The defense of our country is supported by taxes I pay. I know someone personally who gets their health care through the VA--more tax dollars. And I know also quite a few people who get Social Security and Medicare--more tax dollars.
And as for Mitt Romney and his guilded age crowd. Their wealth is not completely untainted from government generosity. Who benefitted the most from the Bush tax cuts? Or from the Reagan tax cuts 30 years ago? Has anyone heard of the term corporate welfare ? Maybe Mitt Romney needs to take a good look in the mirror before he starts shooting from the hip again.
Henry Jarrett

Inspired by Paul Ryan, I've decided to become a truthsayer and declare that I am a deadbeat.  There - I feel better.  I'm a retired public school teacher so I have the shame of a government pension, government health insurance and Social Security.  I now realize that as a government worker I didn't really have a real job.  If I had been honorable, I would have taught at a for-profit school without benefit of pension or health insurance.  But, that's water under the bridge.  It's time to embrace the shame and move on. 

On my behalf, let me mention that my wife still works, so we do pay income tax.  Therefore, maybe I only have one foot in Romney's just-announced-by-video deadbeat category.  The other foot, however, is on a banana peel - next year I'm eligible for Medicare.

But, my mother-in-law - oh, my!  I feel compelled to turn her in.  94, wrinkled, leaning over in her wheelchair, hard of hearing, dim of sight, diminished in cognition, a long-time recipient of Medicare and Social Security (and she didn't even work - it's a death benefit from her late husband's contributions!), she doesn't pay income tax - seems her yearly medical expenses exceed her income.  What's to say other than that she is a poster child for deadbeat personal irresponsibility. 

On her behalf, I would mention that some 60 years ago she and her late husband started (and nurtured for the following 30 years) the much beloved and thriving Hillandale-neighborhood Fourth-of-July Parade in Durham.  But that's grasping at straws.  Even though she has been a spendthrift born of the Great Depression, I will try to explain her shame to her, President Romney.
Ned Gardner


Yesterday, the video of Romney belittling the 47% voting Americans for President Obama was exposed.  His non-elegance, off the cuff remarks were in the presence of his supporters, some of the top 1% the voting population during a secret meeting in the early part of this year.  Internet news brought to us Romney's response to this exposure:  "Romney says his comments in video are accurate but 'not elegantly stated'."
"Elegant" statements will start coming out of his mouth after he is elected by the "super" GOP and a few of the 10% undecided voters?!  What a low mentality presidential candidate among us!  He is a chameleon by heart and mind.  Who has flourished him to get thus far? - Answer: the big MONEY.
It is a sad affair that this "secret" personality is encouraged to become the leader of one of the world's best and greatest country, the USA.
Sign me as one of the 47% (+) voting for the other candidate.
Mohan Isaac



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Romney's 47 percent respond en masse

I still support Romnay.  I am on SS and medicare.  Not all the 47% are moochers.but there are certanily some moochers embedded there.  Yes he could have said it better or more accurately Fortunately there are still some 47 percenters who understand.  You can  no longer say that not one letter supported his statement. 

He couldn't have said it any

He couldn't have said it any better, or, more accurately.  But, you and I weren't supposed to hear it unless we happened to be in Boca with an extra 50k hidden in our offshore accounts.  The Republican party is responsible for much of the tax legislation that, ever since the 2008 election, so repulses Mitt and his legion of Foximorons.  Your candidate is a panderer extraordinaire, who takes hypocrisy to its highest heights.  Neither he nor his snivelling idiot of a running mate show a shred of integrity between them.

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About the blogger

Burgetta Eplin Wheeler is the associate editor of the Editorial pages, responsible for the Other Opinion page. She occasionally writes editorials. She can be reached at bwheeler@newsobserver.com or 829-4825.