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home : letters : letters May 24, 2016

10/5/2012 4:14:00 AM
Romney's comments an insult to millions

To the Editor:

This letter is in honor of my Mom – one of the 47 percent.

Mom grew up during the Depression.  After completing eighth grade, Mom was unable to go to high school for two reasons: The nearest high school was 25 miles away and she needed  to work to help the family.

Mom worked at a grocery store in her small immigrant community. She walked three miles back and forth to work while continuing her farm chores at home. During World War II, she worked for the railroad. After the veterans came home, she worked at a dime store.

When I was six, our parents bought my grandparents’ farm. Mom worked from daylight until after dark doing farm chores, housework, and raising three children. Mom also provided a home for four of her uncles. One of my fondest memories of Mom is baking six or more loaves of bread several times a week using a wood-fired cook stove.  

When I was 10, our parents began a small restaurant. For the next 13 years, Mom provided employment for more than 20 employees – many were high school students. She paid unemployment and disability insurance, Social Security, and payroll taxes for her employees. She paid property taxes. During these years, Mom provided a home to eight young people for short periods of time because of situations at home. She paid for medications and other health care for one waitress who had a serious health problem. Employees were fed during their shift. Our father was often away; consequently, the responsibility of the business and the home fell on Mom. Mom worked 12 to 14 hours a day, 365 days a year for several years before closing the restaurant during the winter due to a lack of business. Some years the business provided enough profit for Mom to pay state and federal income taxes, but others showed very little profit.

After my parents sold the restaurant, Mom went back to work at the small grocery store until retirement. Mom even walked the picket line striking for higher wages. This was a Mom I never expected.

Mom and Dad depended on Social Security, Medicare, and Dad’s small retirement after 65. The last four years of their lives were spent in a nursing home paid for by Social Security, Dad’s retirement check, and Medicaid.

Mom is my role model and my hero.  She taught me valuable lessons: We take care of each other. We work hard.  Everyone has worth and money is not the measure of a person’s worth. What a person contributes to society is far more important.

Mitt Romney’s comments that Mom did not take “responsibility” for her life, that she was “dependent,” that she was a “victim” is insulting to Mom’s worth and contributions and to millions of others who contribute in uncountable ways to their families and others, to communities, and­ to our country. 

Joyce Luedke

Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, October 12, 2012
Article comment by: Kevin South

Kay-it appears you only get your talking points from msnbc, (Rachael Maddow and Ed Schults), some context on Romney's statement are needed. He was asked about his chances of winning. He said it was very hard for him because 47% of the people are not paying taxes. They are dependent on the govt. So these people are 'likely' to stay with the people who are bribing them. Romney didn't say that he was not there for those people he said those people were not there for him. He didn't mean that he wouldn't try to help them regardless of their not voting for him. In fact, he would probably help them more than Obama, who Biden says has "buried the middle class." After all, how could Romney compete with Obama's bribes--the cell phones, the helping illegals get citizenship, the mortgage relief, the free contraception, the late term abortions, the easing of tuition debts? He is buying votes with monies that he is stealing from the taxpayers.

Posted: Friday, October 12, 2012
Article comment by: Bob Lepper

Kay, What you refer to as "safety nets" have become "way of life nets" for a huge percentage of our society. You are sheltered from this observation living here. I grew up on Chicago's south side and witnessed generation upon generation living off the dole without ever having to make an effort to earn a living. I was a member of the Teamsters Union (not by choice) shortly after retiring from the Service. I witness the greed that caused our Company to go out of business because they could not longer afford the demands of the Union. That is happening now throughout this country as we see city after city going bankrupt. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Greece is us in 10 years. Obama's idea of simply taxing the rich will not put a dent in our national deficit. He intends to use this revenue instead to hire 100,000 math and science teachers. Great, just what we need, another 100,000 public sector union members demanding big salaries and lavish benefits!

Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Article comment by: Kevin South

All I can say Joe is it is a sad sign of our times when we demonize those who produce, subsidize those who refuse to produce, and canonized those who complain...

Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Article comment by: Kay Samz

Bob, you need to stop watching Fox News. Mitt Romney despises you, period. Why would he pick a running mate who wants to do away with all safety nets? The Republicans have been trying to get rid of the big three for years now and if Romney/ Ryan get in, they will do it. And please tell me Bob if you think the wealthy that have been doing historically well, need another 20% tax cut on the backs of the rest of us?
Mitt Romney will go down in history as the biggest liar in any campaign for president, ever. He changes his position every five minutes. In fact in the 38 minutes he spent talking in the debate, he lied 27 times. He wasn't being pragmatic when he was speaking to his rich base, he was being the real Mitt Romney.

Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Article comment by: kevin south

Once again Kay and Joe, when the left becomes unhinged, they can only resort to name calling, proving the shallow depth of their ability to think without emotion.

Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Article comment by: Bob Lepper

Kay, sooner or later we are all in the 47%. I worked my entire life and now I live on a small military retirement check and social security. However, I understand that social programs like medicare and social security are not sustainable in present form. Rather than see them go broke and disappear, I would prefer to see them reformed. I believe that the Romney/Ryan plan is more of a workable solution than that of Obama. We all need to expect and accept a little less for the benefit of future generations. Romney was just being pragmatic with his 47% comment. After all why would folks vote for a man who might ask them to take less from the government. Perhaps he himself needs to learn that many of us are willing to sacrifice for the good of all.

Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Article comment by: Joe Thompson

Kevin, the President's comments had nothing to do with a person's labor and everything to do with society's benefits such as roads and public education. The basic point is we all in America who are successful have leveraged some of the benefits that society affords us.

The fact that this keeps coming up as a negative comment shows a partisan nature and/or ignorance.

Posted: Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Article comment by: Kay Samz

Very good letter Joyce. The problem is that many of the 47% who Mitt Romney was talking about don't think they are. Bob Lepper is a good example of that as he doesn't think Romney was talking about your mother. Bob, anyone on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment, Veterans and active military, students receiving pell grants and the working poor are all part of the 47% he's was talking about. Although now I hear he took it back after 17 days of doubling down on it. Kind of like everything he has said in the past, he changes it depending on the audience he's in front of.
Besides, under Romney and Ryan, Social Security will be privatized, Medicaid will go completely away, and Medicare will be voucherized. But, at least when people are left to die or starve to death that 47% will go down.
That would make Kevin happy.

Posted: Saturday, October 6, 2012
Article comment by: Kevin South

You do know Joyce, your mom didn't build that!! Also too bad she was suffocated with taxes and regulations that prevented her from being more profitable.
Excuse me but I thought the 47% were those who have no income tax liability, and usually receive money back through the Earned-Income-Tax-Credit, another wealth transfer from the 53%, since the government neither earns or creates any wealth, just redistributes the earnings privately earned. Why anyone beleives they, (the government), have any claim on any individuals labor, is beyond me.

Posted: Friday, October 5, 2012
Article comment by: R Collins

Excellent letter . . . you do a great job of pointing out how wrong Romney and his apologists (many of whom write letters to the Lakeland Times) are. The fact is that most of the 47% are very hard-working individuals, people who have taken responsibility for themselves, but circumstances have made it difficult to make enough money to pay income taxes.

I, too, grew up in such a family. After my dad contracted MS, and all of our assets were depleted, we eventually ended up "on the county," as the term was then. My mother was working to support a family of five, but could not make enough money for us to get by. Did she like getting help? no. But we needed it.

Our family was thrown a lifeline when we needed it. And since then my two bothers and I have more than repaid the cost of that lifeline through our taxes.

That 47% comment is an insult to millions of Americans like your mother and my parents . . . and many others, including a large number of people here in the northwoods.

Posted: Friday, October 5, 2012
Article comment by: Tim Behselich

Joyce -

Kudos to you and your mom.

Posted: Friday, October 5, 2012
Article comment by: Bob Lepper

Joyce, you mother was a fine example of what makes our country great. A hard working mother who paid her way her entire working life and also had the time and compassion to help others. She earned the little social security and medicaid in her final years and Mitt Romney would not classify her as part of the 47 percent. It appears that your Mom never lived off welfare, food stamps or section 8 housing. She paid taxes as opposed to getting a tax refund when no taxes were paid. She didn't rely on a public sector union to pay her generously while others had the burden of higher property taxes. Self reliance, helping others, compassion for elders, and personal responsibility are what Mitt Romney is all about. President Obama sees a country dependent on the government for their every need from cradle to grave. Much of that is now evident in many of our larger cities. It can't be sustained over time Joyce. We need a president who knows we need more folks like your Mom to keep our country great and less folks dependent on the government.

Bob Lepper
Springstead, WI

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