I was thinking about Mitt Romney's 47 percent problem today ["Romney's right to highlight gov't dependency," Opinion, Sept. 25]. I realized that the problem is worse for Republicans than they imagine.

That's because, even if one is among the other 53 percent, that person is probably only one or two steps removed from a loved one who is among the 47 percent.

For example, I am a computer engineer and am able to maintain my middle-class status. But I have a brother who is a mentally ill veteran, a son-in-law who is profoundly physically handicapped and a grandson who receives Medicaid. He's the one with the father who is profoundly physically handicapped.

After 30 years of demagoguery, the bell has finally tolled: The American work-based capitalist system was killed when the private sector figured out how to eliminate much of the American workforce via machines, computers and outsourcing. The only remaining question is, what economic system is next?

Frank Bucalo, Shirley

Mitt Romney chose to forgo a legitimate charitable contribution deduction of $1.75 million in order to incur a higher effective tax rate in 2011 than is legally required ["Romney's '11 taxes show 14.1% rate," News, Sept. 22]. As a retired tax practitioner, I must observe that I have never encountered such a magnanimous gesture.

However, he is entitled to file an amended return within the next three years on which he may claim the disregarded deduction. He would receive a refund (close to $200,000 using the information he has provided) plus interest.

Should he fail in his quest for the presidency, it wouldn't be surprising if he did just that. Of course, he may do so even if he wins the election, but in that case political considerations would continue to come into play.

Michael L. Borsuk, Melville

Editor's note: The writer is a retired partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

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Regarding "Does Romney get independents?" , writer Jacqueline Salit believes that independents make up more than 40 percent of voters, and that this group consists of astute individuals on the left and right who are disgusted with the partisan politics and the limitations of scope that the two parties impose on the electorate.

This may account for some, but I believe that she aggrandizes this population, when in fact many are people who do not pay attention to the issues. As a result, you get anomalies such as people who favor individual responsibility supporting President Barack Obama.

Think of the many random street interviews that suggest ignorance with respect to key political issues. I'm sure that most of these people consider themselves independent rather than clueless.

Walter McCarthy, Massapequa