I am surely part of the “47 percent” of the American people whom presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has stigmatized as a drag on the American dream. Yes, I will vote for the President “no matter what” and not Romney. He has that much right.

Yes, I have been all so interlocked with the federal government. My great-grandfather, Francis Bawn, came west in 1855 and homesteaded 144 acres of virgin Iowa prairie. President Franklin Pearce’s name is on the federal papers. I leeched off of public schools growing up, including a one-room school house that surely got a lot of taxpayer help, and a small-town school district that got federal food commodities for the hot lunch program. I obtained a National Defense Loan when I went off to Iowa State University, developed as a Land Grant college, a creation of President Lincoln’s Morrill Act of 1862. But I paid off my federal student loans in a few years.

I served in the Peace Corps in Paraguay in 1968-69 — another federal program that sent us starry-eyed do-gooders to all parts of the planet to, at least partly, change world attitudes about the U.S.and nurture international development. After that, I mooched off the federal dole for two years from 1969-71 serving in the U.S. Army — free travel and meals and barracks and comfortable uniforms, and they even paid me $97 per month as a trainee in boot camp and almost $300 a month when they discharged me as a Specialist E-5, Acting Sergeant. I got to ride in huge trucks, camp in tents and play war games at night. I didn’t even have to pay for all the M-14 and M-16 shooting practice, plus other expensive weapons. That gave me something unique to do for my bucket list. Heck, they even gave me price breaks for merchandise at the PX. If only the taxpayer knew how I took full advantage of government employment.

When I got out of the Army, I capitalized on the G.I. Bill and earned my master’s degree from Northwestern University, a pretty snazzy school of higher learning that would have been out of my reach without that perk for veterans. Later, in 1973, I got married and bought a house the next year on the G.I. Bill with no downpayment required. I moved to Arizona in 1984 and used the G.I. Bill anew to buy a house and later paid it off in full. Yes, I took advantage of the mortgage interest deductions when I paid my taxes all those years. Our more than $5,000 in charitable giving last year hurt what the federal treasury got when we paid our taxes. My bad.

Today I mooch off the government when I serve as a poll worker for elections. I burden the government by driving over the roads, highways and interstates that take so much federal and state funds to keep up. Now, horrors of horrors, at age 66, I receive Social Security. And I am on Medicare. I am what Republicans surely find to be a dependent on the public dole. I take advantage of the federal regulations to keep my water and food safe, my car spewing less into the air, and my nation safe from invasion. I am amply dependent on the so-demeaned taxes. Yeah, I read a number of Ayn Rand’s books more than 40 years ago and momentarily thought the stalwart individual was the true patriot. But then life got in the way. Education, experience, relationships and reason made it clear that we are a gathering of humans who need to work together, look out for each other and help when some don’t get the breaks. Taxes are the price of civilization.

Mitt Romney thought he was talking to his choir of plutocrats alone when he said, “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it — that that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. … These are people who pay no income tax. … [M]y job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

I have always paid income taxes since I began earning a decent income after I got my education. I paid off my student loans and the home mortgage. I still own a share of the Grundy County farm that the feds gave my great-grandfather 157 years ago. It has helped to feed the world for more than 150 years. I worked full-time for more than 40 years. Romney will never convince me to “take personal responsibility and care” for my life. I’ll keep taking advantage of the perks of being an American.

Mitt Romney’s job is to not worry about me, taker of all too much from the feds’ big pot. And I am not worried that he, of all people, will ever be elected president of the United States.

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