Union Democrat staff

Romney's 47 percent comment

To the Editor,

Romney told a group of wealthy donors, "My job is not to worry about those people ..." the 47 percent of Americans who pay no taxes.

This is a favorite conservative myth to justify cutting Federal Income Taxes on the wealthy, "Why should the wealthy pay all the taxes." But when all forms of taxes are included nearly everyone pays between 25 and 30 percent in taxes. We're outraged when we hear "47 percent pay no taxes" because we know we're paying taxes.

But "Only 10 percent pay no taxes," according to the Congressional Budget Office

As the myth goes everyone else is lazy and, as Romney said, "they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."

But Americans do take responsibility and are hard working. The recession cost millions their jobs. It's a lousy time to be judging people who can't find a high paying full-time job.

As a rule American's are willing, excellent workers. Pretending they are moochers, that they should be despised, making them feel guilt for getting government aid is unfair.

Virtually all Americans take advantage of government programs. If you're in financial trouble, maybe food stamps, aid to dependent children, veteran's benefits, unemployment, or Medicaid. Romney's father was on welfare before he got on his feet.

If you're well off we have programs built into the system that help you. For instance, Medicare is an entitlement; Part B has a 75 percent government subsidy. The mortgage deduction, tax-free gifts between individuals or a lower tax rate on capital gains.

Romney earns money on his money, not by hard work and we reward him with a lower tax rate worth millions. Bain Capital wouldn't have been profitable without favorable tax breaks.

The Brookings institute found, "Republicans benefit from government programs as much as anyone else. They just have a harder time admitting it."

Robert Carabas


Free speech rights

To the Editor,

In response to Michael Ackleys letter of Oct. 5, I would be among the first to defend our free speech rights.

The film that was spread like wildfire throughout the Middle East was not just a criticism of Islam, it was an insult meant to inflame whole populations to riot, which was what the maker obviously had in mind and it accomplished its desired effect.

Most Americans appreciate our right to worship in the manner we see fit and are sensitive enough not to insult the beliefs of others. We can only hope that these people learn not to be goaded into such action in the future, but this man is still responsible for the deaths of our embassy officials and his actions are to be condemned.

Myrna Doering


What is wrong with the justice system?

To the Editor,

A 31-year-old parolee was sent back to prison recently for robbing a Columbia mini-mart with an air pistol in early August.

Matthew William Birdsong, a Sonora area transient, was in custody at Tuolumne County Superior Court for his sentencing where he received five years in prison.

He must serve 85 percent of his sentence before being eligible for parole because it is considered a "strike offense" under the California's"Three Strikes" law. A Copperopolis man pleaded guilty recently to negligent driving under the influence of drugs causing injury, in relation to a March 23 crash that killed a Jamestown woman. He was released from the Calaveras County Jail on his own recognizance awaiting sentencing.

Colton James Roberts, 28, was driving north in his 2003 Acura MDX on Pool Station Road when his car crossed into the southbound lane and collided head-on with Jamestown resident Mark Bottorff's 2002 Kia Optima, according to a California Highway Patrol report. The collision killed Bottorff's passenger, Corazon Hicks, 71, also of Jamestown. The negligent DUI causing injury charge carries a maximum penalty of four years in jail.

So, the message is, rob a store, you get five years. Kill someone in a vehicle while under the influence of drugs, you only get four. What's wrong with this picture?

Michael Mager

Portland, Ore.

Former Sonora resident