In the cartoonish world of the economic libertarians who dominate the Republican Party, things are simple: there are "makers" and "takers." In the real world, where the rest of us live, things are a good deal more complicated.
Tony Winchester, Greenville, Del.
A discussion long past due
At a time when our national debt is $16 trillion and growing, Mitt Romney had the nerve to remind us that 47 percent of Americans pay no federal income taxes. Is it realistic to expect that our deficit can be reduced when almost half the potential players aren't in the game? This is a discussion long past due.
And was Romney off the mark when he said that "the Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace"? Can all the negotiations in the world bring peace when the Palestinians continue to decry the very existence of Israel?
Perhaps a few more secretly recorded Romney videos could bring these critical topics to the fore. It could be just the thing to sway the small percentage of voters who remain undecided.
Bob Altman, Yardley
Where do corporations fall?
Does Mitt Romney mean that the many corporations that haven't paid any taxes are in that 47 percent that are moochers? After all, he does consider them people.
Yet these big businesses think they are entitled to corporate welfare, tax breaks, loopholes, and getting subsidies such as the $4 billion of taxpayer money a year going to the top oil giants that rake in tens of billions of dollars of profit each quarter. And they cry when clean-energy entrepreneurs want equal treatment to keep those new jobs here.
What a joke, and too many Americans are buying into it, satisfied with crumbs off the table from the failed trickle-down economic policies initiated during the years of the demigod Ronald Reagan.
Michael Miller Jr., Philadelphia
Imagine if he said, 'Ask not ...'
What exactly did Mitt Romney say in the undercover video found by Jimmy Carter's grandson? Why is anyone upset? Romney spoke on self-reliance vs. the government nanny state. Somewhere I read, "Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime." Where was the outrage with that?
Can you image the venom and rage if Romney dared to say, "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country"?
Did Romney's policies create the economic mess we are in now? Did Romney's policies result in the killing of an American ambassador and three others? Little outrage there, but lots of outrage with Romney answering questions.
Ken Robinson, Ocean Township
Greed runs the wealthy
Having worked in a steel plant 30-plus years, my retirement is insufficient to live on given today's inflation caused partially by corporations inflating salaries and costs. At age 81, I pay taxes on a low income, plus exorbitant school taxes even though I haven't had children or grandchildren in school since 1973. Were I working, I would be happy to pay taxes on my incomes. But greed runs the wealthy. The more some people have, the more they desire. They are the ones who sent decent-paying jobs out of the country. When Mitt Romney says he paid a 13 percent tax rate, let him also tell how much was hidden legally due to rules passed by people in his class helping each other.
Robert Lusch, Phoenixville
Self-sufficiency and productivity
So Mitt Romney mentioned the elephant in the room and an uproar ensues. But what are the real issues? The Democrats, under Lyndon Johnson, enacted the Great Society programs that created a persistent underclass that votes lockstep for Democrats, the party that would prefer to keep them poor forever.
In the current election, on one hand I see a politician who wants only to see people become self-sufficient and productive. On the other hand, I see an opportunistic charlatan who will leverage class warfare as often as he can, all the while holding people in poverty to shore up his base.
Is the press biased? You tell me. Wealthy candidates weren't a bad thing when John Kennedy or John Kerry ran. But Romney's wealth somehow makes him out of touch? It would appear that Democrats only hate wealth if the person actually earned it, as opposed to inheriting it or marrying into it.
Mark J. Costello, Warminster, firstname.lastname@example.org
Comments made at fund-raiser
Mitt Romney's comments about the 47 percent of Americans who don't take personal responsibility for their lives was made at a $50,000-a-plate fund-raising dinner. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the annual median household income in 2011, adjusted for inflation, was $50,054. What's wrong with this picture?
Jenny Godwin, Philadelphia
Old-fashioned American dream
While I admit to being both old (70) and old-fashioned, it is abundantly clear that my definition of the "American Dream" has changed dramatically. When I was younger, people like me, who grew up in a North Philly rowhome, were told to study hard, work hard, save, and invest carefully, and we could participate in the American Dream, becoming financially independent and successful.
In 2012, the virulent attacks on Mitt Romney's extraordinary career and success are clear evidence that my definition no longer applies. The new definition calls for people to study hard, work hard, save, and invest carefully so the government can take what you've earned and give it to the people who didn't.
Jack Penders, Media