Aren’t you tired of being taken for a ride? I am. Big time.

We’re living in Scam City. The U.S. of A. United Scam Artists. Being told a billion small lies; a million big ones.

Every morning at the Fuel Coffee Shop when I complain about a politician, my friend Anthony just shakes his head. I know he’s thinking I’m a sad case for even saying it. All politicians lie. Everybody knows it.

It’s all false advertising. Those family values guys, you know the born-again god-loving guys who don’t want loose women to control their own bodies, they’re the very guys who sleep with their secretaries and betray their wives. And the super-charged Christian guys who can’t stand the thought of gays and lesbians loving and marrying each other, they’re the guys who get caught cheating on their wives with other guys. Or the super-patriotic Michelle Bachman who knows less about American history than your average muskrat.

How about Democrats who are really corporate Republicans and Republicans who are witches?

You buy something knowing it won’t work in two years. Things fall apart faster than ever. Everywhere there are ordinary lies and fabulous fabrications.

Investment bankers sell mortgages they know are worthless. And they’re fine and dandy and richer than ever. A guy knocks over a grocery store because his kid is hungry and he’s in jail for years.

It’s tax time. Party Time for the rich and powerful. ExxonMobil made $19 billion in profits in 2009 and paid no federal income tax. Instead it got a check for $156 million from the IRS.

You heard the expression laughing to the bank? Your money. First, ExxonMobil rips us off at the pump, then they have us send them a big fat check. We’re living in Scam City.

Meanwhile, there’s the Bank of America. A trifecta, baby! They made $4.4 billion in profits, got a bailout from the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department then received a $1.9 billion tax refund from the IRS last year.

And my personal favorite, General Electric. GE in 2010 reported worldwide profits of $14.2 billion, $5.1 billion of which came from its operations here in the United Scam. GE paid no U.S. taxes and claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion.

If you want to know what the free enterprise system really means, ask Jeffrey Immeldt, the head of President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Economic Competitiveness. When he’s not helping the President craft economic policy, he’s head honcho at GE. He’s knows a heck of a lot about how to ship jobs overseas, tax shelters, lobbying for tax breaks, and how best to shift the tax burden from the rich to the rest of us. Want to bet that somehow or other we paid for the slick video GE made explaining why they shouldn’t clean the Housatonic River?

Then you gotta love Valero Energy, number 25 on the large company list. They managed $68 billion in sales last year and got a $157 million tax refund check from us. Plus, over the past three years Valero got a $134 million tax break from the oil and gas manufacturing tax deduction. Really? These energy companies really need an oil and gas manufacturing tax deduction? 68 billion bucks in sales.

United Scam Artists.

Chevron: $10 billion in profits, and a piddling $19 million refund check.

Boeing gets $30 billion from the Pentagon to build 179 airborne tankers and a refund check for $124 million.

Most of you just finished your taxes. I hope you used your Oil and Gas Manufacturing Deduction.

And I hope you didn’t read the depressing quote in E. J. Dionne’s column from David Cay Johnston of Tax Notes: “The effective rate for the top 400 taxpayers has gone from 30 cents on the dollar in 1993 to 22 cents at the end of the Clinton years to 16.6 cents under Bush. So their effective rate has gone down more than 40 percent.”

Johnston emphasized: “The overarching drive right now is to push the burden of government, of taxes, down the income ladder.”

Is that you? Aren’t you tired of being taken for a ride?

I have a few simple ideas. How about a system of fair taxes? Tax the really rich and the rich corporations. Close those loopholes. How about sending corporate crooks to jail when they lie and cheat and steal? How about we declare victory in Iraq and Afghanistan and bring our troops home? Really bring them home. After all, our man in Iraq, Prime Minister al-Maliki is killing demonstrators in his country with the same zeal as other Middle Eastern despots. How about we close most of our military bases and employ our soldiers fixing all the things that are broken here at home?

I don’t want to live in Scam City.

The Berkshire Record, April 21, 2011 © Mickey Friedman