Charles Koch (yup, one of those Kochs) has an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal today -- and I just want to doff my hat to Harry Reid and other Democrats who've decided to make the Koch brothers an issue in this campaign. This Democratic effort has been ridiculed -- but look, here's one of the "notoriously secretive" Kochs rising to the bait and making himself a public target. Keep needling 'em, Harry.
The first part of this op-ed reads as if it was discovered up in a dusty attic in a box of anti-communist tracts from 1953 or 1931:
Collectivists (those who stand for government control of the means of production and how people live their lives) promise heaven but deliver hell. For them, the promised end justifies the means.The evil collectivists, of course, are those in "the current administration" -- and here we find an answer to the questions so many people have about the right: What's wrong with these people? Do they seriously want to take health care away from millions of Americans? Do they really want to drive more and more Americans into poverty by slashing unemployment and food stamps? The answer is: Yes, they do. They do because they look at non-conservative America the way we started to look at Cuba, say, during the Cold War. The right-wingers are embargoing us. They're trying to subject us to crippling economic sanctions. They're doing this for what they think is our own good. They want us to turn on our own government, so we'll taste Freedom, which is what we really need even though we may not know it yet. They see the current government as something they want to destabilize, and ultimately topple, the way communism was ultimately toppled -- because they think the policy of the current government is full-on communism, if perhaps in an early stage of development.
Instead of encouraging free and open debate, collectivists strive to discredit and intimidate opponents. They engage in character assassination. (I should know, as the almost daily target of their attacks.)
(Koch quotes Thomas Jefferson: "'The natural progress of things,' Jefferson wrote, 'is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.'" To Koch that means: Government doesn't stop gaining ground until we've arrived at jackbooted communism.)
But the main thrust of the op-ed is that Charles and his brother David are poor, misunderstood lambs who mean us no harm. Among other things, they hate big government -- even when it helps their own class!
Far from trying to rig the system, I have spent decades opposing cronyism and all political favors, including mandates, subsidies and protective tariffs -- even when we benefit from them. I believe that cronyism is nothing more than welfare for the rich and powerful, and should be abolished.But here's the thing: Koch says he and his brother oppose government aid to big corporations just as much as they oppose government social programs for ordinary citizens. So why aren't they devoting equal amounts of time and money to campaigning against both kinds of aid?
Koch Industries was the only major producer in the ethanol industry to argue for the demise of the ethanol tax credit in 2011. That government handout (which cost taxpayers billions) needlessly drove up food and fuel prices as well as other costs for consumers -- many of whom were poor or otherwise disadvantaged. Now the mandate needs to go, so that consumers and the marketplace are the ones who decide the future of ethanol....
If more businesses (and elected officials) were to embrace a vision of creating real value for people in a principled way, our nation would be far better off -- not just today, but for generations to come.
Why isn't there a Koch-funded effort to abolish corporate welfare that's as large and well funded as the campaign against Obamacare? Where's the anti-corporate-welfare model legislation from ALEC? And I know the Kochs have been huge supporters of the tea party movement -- so where are tea party legislators' proposals for corporate welfare repeal? Why aren't those legislators barnstorming the nation demanding the elimination of corporate welfare, with the same vigor they devote to bashing Obamacare? When will Koch-supported officeholders start demanding that the government be shut down if corporate welfare isn't abolished? Why isn't that a non-negotiable demand?
Heck, you'd almost think that some forms of "collectivism" were less harmful than others, rather than all of them being the worst possible toxins for the body politic. And whaddaya know -- the ones that are low-priority for the Kochs are the ones that benefit them and their friends. Funny how that works.