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To the editor:

Re: "Congratulations! You Lose!" [August 17]. Well, I just don't know where to start.

First, let me get this straight. Linda Lutton wants a refund of something that she did not pay. I wonder if she goes to stores trying to get refunds for things she hasn't bought. She's not getting a refund because SHE wasn't overcharged.

Second, the fact that she's not getting a refund means that she's in a truly enviable position. It means that she's taking advantage of all our federal government has to give without contributing anything. She's driving on interstates, using parks, flying on safe airplanes, breathing clean air, and drinking clean water without having to help pay for any of it. She's leaving that part up to others. (You're welcome.)

Third, she certainly is entitled to think what she wants about how to run a society. The United States, however, happens to be a democratically elected republic with capitalistic fiscal policies embodied in our Constitution. It's OK that she's not happy about that. But we are what we are, and she really should look elsewhere for policies consistent with her beliefs. Try Cuba or China. Maybe they need muralists there. Or start your own country, write your own constitution, and have at it.

Fourth, she didn't believe any of the reporting during last year's campaign, but apparently she now believes every word of a couple of new books. As a financial analyst, I can assure her that it's possible to use numbers to prove whatever hypothesis is desired. Any outcome is predetermined by what you choose to input.

Fifth, Savage Love belongs on page three, in the Straight Dope's place. Truly entertaining nutcases like him should be running the paper. Is he getting a refund?

Matt Ebner

W. Argyle

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