For the most part, I am happy to serve as your friendly local liberal whipping boy, but there is one matter I would like to set straight as we sail blindly into the brave new world of tax and deficit reduction promised by victorious state and national tea party politicians.

While I may well be a tax-and-spend Democrat, at least I am not a hypocrite when it comes to taxation. My conservative critics are fond of accusing liberals of wanting to spend their money. In fact, it is my money I want to spend for the public good.

You will hear conservative tax whiners complain constantly about the 47 percent of U.S. households that pay no income tax, as if trying to lay the blame for the national debt at the feet of the poor. As if. What the whiners usually fail to note is that 759,000 U.S. households with incomes over $100,000 are among those that pay no income tax.

Our household is fortunate enough to be among the 10 percent that pays 68 percent of income taxes in the U.S., but we do not complain about the taxes we have to pay. So you’ll pardon me if I am sick and tired of hearing people who actually benefit from tax-funded programs complain about their taxes.

To repeat the truest statement I have ever read about tax-cappers and tea partiers, as Matt Taibbi wrote in the Oct. 5, 2010, issue of Rolling Stone, “The average Tea Partier is sincerely against government spending – with the exception of the money spent on them.”

With that in mind, I would like to take this opportunity to serve notice that I cannot and will not take seriously anyone who complains about taxes, government spending, and the national deficit if they are on the receiving end of public funding.

I mean how am I supposed to take seriously someone who complains that the government shouldn’t have its hands in the till of Corporate America when they work for a company that sells its product to state governments? My tax dollars are paying his salary, for heaven’s sake.

And how am I not to conclude that a tax-capper is a hypocrite if he complains about taxes and government spending when he’s worked all his life for a defense contractor?

So, from now on, I don’t expect to hear any tax-and-spend complaints from anyone who:

• Is an active or retired public employee.

• Is active or retired military.

• Works or worked for a defense contractor.

• Has a company that gets government subsidies or contracts.

• Works in an industry bailed out by taxpayers.

• Sends their kids to public schools.

• Receives Social Security, Medicare or veterans benefits.

• Has ever received unemployment benefits.

• Is a member of Congress.

• Supported extending tax breaks for people who earn more than $250,000.

• Receives publicly financed health insurance or a public pension.

• Pays in-state tuition at a public university.

• Lives free of charge in the Blaine House and creates make-work jobs for his relatives.

If you’re on this list, I’m one of the taxpayers paying your bills, so please have the common decency not to bite the hand that feeds you.

Sidebar Elements

Freelance journalist Edgar Allen Beem lives in Yarmouth. The Universal Notebook is his personal, weekly look at the world around him.

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