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I am the 47 percent / September 20, 2012
Dear Viewpoint:

This week, Mitt Romney made some derogatory statements about me. I’d like to respond to those comments here. Mr. Romney, in speaking of those Americans who pay no income tax, stated, “There are 47 percent who …are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims … I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

The Republican nominee’s statement is a blanket indictment of every American that does not pay income tax. It includes many elderly Americans, as well as U.S. military personnel serving in combat zones. It also includes me.

I was born with muscular dystrophy. I have been confined to a wheelchair since I was 14. Despite my disability, I earned a college degree and taught at Halifax County High School for 14-1/2 years. I was only physically able to work half-days, so my annual salary averaged less than $15,000.

After serving my community for nearly 15 years at a meager salary, my disability forced me to retire. I now receive Social Security disability payments based on the money I paid in while working. I do not pay income taxes.

When you hear Mitt Romney disparage all those who do not pay income tax, I’d like you to think of me. Ask yourself if I sound like a self-pitying victim without any personal responsibility. I am the 47 percent.

Aylor Talbott

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