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Letter: A 'gaffe' only if it's untrue

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney campaigns in Des Moines, Iowa. (Aug. 8, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

One letter writer suggests that Mitt Romney's comments about 47 percent of Americans receiving federal money constitute a gaffe ["A gaffe provides grist for laughs," Sept. 21]. The writer says the same of former Vice President Dan Quayle's remark about Murphy Brown "glamorizing single parenthood." But neither "gaffe" constitutes a mistake. Both Romney's figures and his assessment of the current entitlement culture are correct, while statistics show that single women with children are often living below the poverty level. It's not a gaffe if it's true.

Lane Filler's column "Worry about the poor now or really worry later" [Opinion, Sept. 21], takes this trend one step further. First, Romney was not "writing off" the people in the 47 percent; he simply pointed out that we are near the tipping point as a nation when almost half of our people pay no federal income taxes but receive benefits paid for by those who do. That creates a voting bloc that will always put a big-government politician (usually a Democrat) in office. Margaret Thatcher was correct when she said that socialism is great until you run out of other people's money. Given the current economy, the fact is, we have run out.

But it is also wrong to claim that the 47 percent are "poor." Some are, certainly, but most are not. Even if they were, no nation could be sustained by taking from the productive and giving to the unproductive. Socialism has been tried, and everywhere it has been tried, it has failed! All that it has done is reduce everybody except the very wealthy to real poverty -- and there won't be enough money in the world to fix that.

Valerie H. Protopapas, Huntington Station