Mitt Romney, seen here at a campaign stop in New Hampshire, has received… (Evan Vucci / Associated…)
You wouldn't know it from the six letters published on the topic this week, but Monday's revelation that Mitt Romney characterized 47% of Americans as non-taxpaying freeloaders, a group he said will vote for President Obama, drew more letters to the editor than any other single event of the general election campaign. As of Friday, nearly 200 readers have sent their comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The reactions have been varied, though most can be divided into three broad categories: responses from Obama supporters miffed by Romney's put-down (67 letters); readers who agree with Romney (27 letters); and speculation over the political implications for the GOP candidate's campaign (48 letters). A few dozen submissions didn't fit into any of the categories, including several one-liners such as this zinger from a frequent letter writer: "If Romney wants to be president of 53% of the American people, will he work only half time?"
Below is a selection of letters from each category.
-- Paul Thornton, letters editor
Meet the 47%:
My family is fortunate. We enjoy a second home located in a garden complex. Five days a week a team of gardeners works from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The desert climate means temperatures are often over 100 degrees. These men probably are paid minimum wage or a little more, but surely not enough to be required to pay federal income tax.
I witness them working extremely hard each day — but not hard enough to be noticed by Romney.
I am one of the 47%. I started working at 15, paid taxes, retired and still pay taxes. Yes, Mr. Romney, I will be voting for Obama.
Rosa Maria Farrer
Romney has a point:
One man's gaffe is another man's truth. Romney said what many taxpayers are thinking. Working people are tired of paying income taxes for the half that pays none.
Of course, some of the non-paying 47% includes people who are cycling through a low-income phase of their lives, such as retirees, students and military personnel. But the non-payers also include hordes of chronic freeloaders who
refuse to work. About one-third of the U.S. population receives some form of income-based federal welfare.
Everyone should pay some federal income taxes, no matter how little, because everyone uses tax-funded services. Democracy does not work if everyone does not pull his weight. We cannot allow half the people to live off the other half.
What this means for Romney's campaign:
Let's be fair. When Romney said he didn't care about the fabled 47%, he simply meant that he wouldn't be pursuing their votes. But
beyond that, Romney morphed on Monday from Thurston Howell into Montgomery Burns. He has nailed down the evil millionaire vote, and I'm betting he's going to sweep the evil billionaire vote.
What is he thinking?
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