WHEN I WROTE in a column last week that Mitt Romney’s comments regarding the 47 percent of Americans who don’t pay federal income taxes as well as those who receive some sort of government disbursement came across as “offensive, repugnant and arrogant,” I knew many would disagree.
“While it’s true many Americans don’t pay federal income taxes,” I wrote, “Mr. Romney’s comments were laced with obvious disdain and just a plain wrong-headed assessment of the resolve of Americans in general, whether they’re rich or poor, to work hard to become successful and care for their families.”
Many did disagree. And — along with others who felt the way I did — lots of them called or emailed to let me know. Here is a sampling of emails:
• “If you are looking for ‘offensive, arrogant, and repugnant’ look towards the White House. I would rather have a man as CEO of the United States that has made millions of dollars, not only for himself but also for major companies, than someone who has never had a job and done nothing but spend money, placing this country further in debt, on projects that are not working. It’s too late to worry about Obama. His Socialist agenda is now known. Hopefully we can get rid of him in November.”
• “I was brought up in the period of self reliance, ‘make your bed and lie in it’ mentality and make your own way in this world kind of thinking. I have been a staunch Democrat for 50 years but I do sense all of us need to be more confronting with the attitude that someone other than I must take care of me and mine. I see this in my own family and friends in that too many think everything in life should offer a level playing field. … I sure would be delighted to hear more of the need to be self reliant, serve my country in some form and quit whining about the difficulties of life. Let’s take this issue away from the hate mongers and present it in a way that motivates. “Ask not what your country … .”
• “I would suggest you follow up with another ‘worry about’ article. ‘Maybe voters should “worry about” Obama’. … Write about some of the things Obama has said. Write about some of the things that he promised to do, and hasn’t done. Write about his socialist redistribution of wealth ideology. … Write about his lack of transparency as president. Write about the debt he has accumulated or the jobs that were never created with his policies.”
“(Y)ou cannot possibly believe that Mitt Romney has DISDAIN for the poor people in this country that really need assistance. Mitt Romney believes, though, that most people in this country would prefer to work for a living and strive for something better than a government handout. He also believes in government fiscal responsibility, which is refreshing. Mitt Romney has proven himself to be an honorable man throughout the years, and I believe that he has the experience to get businesses growing again; and faith in the American people that they want to chase the American Dream and get the United States back to prosperity.”
• “It would be interesting to do an article on what black folks ‘don’t worry about’. I think it is interesting that black folks pack out black churches on Sunday and then some 90% of them vote for a party and a candidate that is in favor of things that are in direct conflict to what God’s word teaches. I am referring to same sex marriage (homosexuality) and abortion (murder).
“Also, I don’t think Social Security and Medicare should be referred to as an entitlement. I worked for 45 years and I paid my FICA every paycheck. Because the government took the money from the Social Security Trust and spent it on some foolishness didn’t make it fall under entitlements. I also pay $99 a month for Medicare which also means that it is not an entitlement. Political entitlements, in my opinion, are people who are taking money from the government and never contributed.”
• “I too repaid my student loans, but was fortunate enough that my father, a teacher, making $13,000 a year in the 70’s was able to pay for 4 children’s lunch. You and I both received a hand up and took advantage of it. … It’s not the 25 % of the 47% (retirees, disabled, veterans) Romney referred to that actually need and deserve help that make the ‘government’ bad for helping them, it’s the other 25% of the 47% that make a living off doing nothing and living off you and I as ‘victims’. Romney was right, he or anyone else, will (not) be able to convince them they should take personal responsibility and take care of their own lives. Living off society and taking the hand up and taking advantage of it by having 4,5, 6 out of wedlock children that you and I support is an insult.”
• “I live on a short street of which we have 4 successful blacks and 3 successful white families. The reality is these people have nothing in common with (the) underclass, the under class being both white and blacks who have no interest in improving their lot. Anybody with a brain knows that Romney was referring to these people not people in true need through no fault of their own or social security recipients. (M)y view is simple if you are physically or mentally handicapped I want to help you. If you a drunk or drug addict you can starve as far as I am concerned.”
• “On many occasions I have heard someone say ‘why should I work when I can make just as much or more with unemployment’. I have also heard people say ‘I have never filed a federal tax’. The SSI system is abused, the welfare system is abused. I read into all Romney’s remarks that he expects people who WANT freebies (and there are many of both races) will continue to vote for the President.”
It’s a blessing to live in a country where you can disagree yet come back together to live together peaceably. At least, that’s the way it’s supposed to be.
Reach Mr. Bolton at
(803) 771-8631 or firstname.lastname@example.org.