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47 percent

Dear Editor:

Well. Mitt Romney finally told the truth about himself. His shameful remarks to a group of uber-wealthy one percenters about the 47 percent betray the real Romney. As president, he would not need, “to worry about those people.” So who are these Americans that Romney mocks as, “victims” and “those people,” who are unwilling to take “personal responsibility” and “care for their lives.”

Millions are senior citizens who rely on meager Social Security pensions and Medicare just to stay alive. They dutifully paid payroll taxes all their working lives, but now somehow are freeloaders according to Romney’s perverted view. I guess they were not lucky enough to have inherited millions from a wealthy father.

Many of the 47 percent are active duty members of the military fighting for our country overseas, as Romney never did. I guess facing hostile fire on a battlefield doesn’t qualify as taking “personal responsibility!” And how about veterans struggling for survival on VA benefits. I guess they must see themselves as “victims” on the federal dole, rather than citizens who served their nation honorably and may have suffered enormously as a result.

Others are middle-class families raising children with a little help from the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit, a hand up Republicans once bragged about helping to enact.

Many of the 47 percent are students grasping to afford college tuition so they can “care for their lives,” no thanks to the Republicans.

Millions more have been unemployed since the Great Bush Recession, not because they’re freeloaders or can’t be bothered to get a job.

While the 47 percent may not pay federal income tax, they do pay many other federal taxes, most notably the payroll tax, to say nothing of state and local taxes. Ironically, someone who makes $1 billion a year pays no more payroll tax than someone who makes $106,800. Who is the freeloader there?

As David Brooks, a reliably conservative, yet thoughtful pundit recently said, Romney has divided the nation into the libertarian “makers” and “moochers.” He has lost any sense of the national social compact. In 1987, during Reagan’s second term, 62 percent of Republicans believed that the government has a duty to help those who can’t help themselves. Today, according to a Pew survey, less than 40 percent do. Ironically, many members of the 47 percent are part of the Republican base. They are senior citizens, veterans, white males with a high school degree. I am particularly baffled about seniors, of which I am one. Does anyone think that present and future seniors will be better off under the slash and burn Romney-Ryan budget, gutting Medicare and turning Social Security into a glorified mutual fund? Why people would vote for a man and a party that holds them in contempt, a man and a party that doesn’t need, “to worry about those people,” a man and a party that is clearly interested only in the 1 percent (or maybe only the 0.1 percent), is beyond my comprehension.

John Porco

This story was posted on September 26, 2012.