Charles Koch Says The Poor Have It Really Good So They Need to Stop Complaining

Kochs wealthiest one percent

Poverty is a condition that refers to the general dearth of material possessions or money that prevents people from having access to basic human needs such as food, water, sanitation, clothing, shelter, health care, and education. It is a sad fact of life that in the richest nation in the history of the world, an inordinately high number of Americans live in abject poverty and do not have the means to provide their families with fundamentally basic needs of food, shelter, or healthcare. It is little surprise that Republicans are planning to increase the number of Americans living in poverty according to their intent to eliminate the nation’s anti-poverty programs, and it is not because the country is broke as Republicans are wont to claim.  It is more likely due, in part, to one of the two richest men in the country who claims the tens-of-millions of Americans living below the poverty line need to shut up, stop complaining, and start celebrating their good fortune as members of the richest one-percent in the world.

First, it is important to note that poverty, at least relative poverty, is generally defined by reputable economists contextually as economic inequality in the location or society in which people live, and in that context, it is likely that more than half of the American population is living in poverty. Charles Koch completely disagrees and last year his foundation produced a commercial stating that a family earning $34,000 annually are part of the richest one-percent in the world; especially when compared to developing third world nations and countries such as China and India where the majority of the population lives in absolute squalor.

It is not just Charles Koch, another wealthy CEO, Bud Konheim, said just last month that “We’ve got a country that the poverty level is wealth in 99% of the rest of the world, so we’re talking about woe is me, woe is us, woe is this. The guy that’s making, oh my God, he’s making $35,000 a year, why don’t we try that out in India or some countries we can’t even name. China, anyplace, the guy is wealthy.” Except Americans living in poverty do not live in China or India, or third world nations; they live in America where according to the Economic Policy Institute, a family of three would have to earn at least $48,000 annually just to afford the basic necessities to survive such as food, housing, and healthcare. Another organization, the Working Poor Families Project, estimates that the required income to meet the most basic survival needs is $45,000 annually; America’s median household income is approximately $51,000.

If the measure of poverty in America was not based on economic necessities for living standards during the 1950s and 1960s and applied to living costs today, the federal poverty level would exceed three times the current levels meaning that over half the nation is living below poverty. Simple arithmetic informs that if the current measure for a family of three earning 100% of the federal poverty level is $19,790 annually and exactly three times that figure is $59,370, then well over half the American population is, undoubtedly, living in poverty if the median income is $51,000.

It is astounding, but poverty measures are still based on food costs of the 1950s that have at least doubled, housing that has more than tripled, and healthcare costs that are six times higher than they were in the late 1970s. According to the Congressional Research Service, “The poverty line reflects a measure of economic need based on living standards that prevailed in the mid-1950s…It is not adjusted to reflect changes in needs associated with improved standards of living that have occurred over the decades since the measure was first developed. If the same basic methodology developed in the early 1960s was applied today, the poverty thresholds would be over three times higher than the current thresholds.” According to Bureau of Labor Statistics and Census Bureau calculations, a median family income of $51,000 will barely cover food, housing, health care, transportation, taxes, and other household expenditures in America; not China, India, or any sub-Saharan developing country. Between 2000 and 2011, the “official” poverty rate increased 25% with children and senior citizens being impacted the most drastically. Using the official poverty rate, 55% of seniors and 60% of children are considered very poor using “relative poverty” as a measure. For elderly women the figures are worse with Wider Opportunities for Women reporting that “60% of women age 65 and older who live alone or live with a spouse have incomes insufficient to cover basic, daily expenses,” but according to Charles Koch they are members of the richest 1% in the world.

What is often forgotten when discussing the state of American poverty is that the overwhelming majority of low-wage working families and senior citizens earning less than necessary to stave off starvation, ill-health, and exposure could not survive without anti-poverty programs Republicans and the Koch brothers want eliminated to return to pre-Depression era standards. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, food stamps, minimum wage, overtime pay, housing and heating assistance, and school lunch programs are all that keep tens-of-millions of Americans from falling victim to “killing poverty” Republicans and the Kochs are frantic to impose on all Americans. It is probably just one reason why Charles Koch and other extremely wealthy Americans are preparing the population for what is on their horizon by congratulating them for being part of the richest 1% of people in the world while living in dire poverty in the richest nation on Earth; because they have every intent to make conditions worse like in India and China.

It is irrelevant that Charles Koch is patronizing the poor in America by telling them they are wealthy by third world standards; it is precisely what Americans should expect from one of the two richest men in America who can fathom taking everything from the people and will not rest until he achieves his goal. It is not enough the Kochs and their ilk have Republicans in Congress poised to “reform” (read eliminate) anti-poverty programs, Social Security and Medicare, food stamps, and every other safety net preventing 99% of the population from sinking into poverty while “reforming” (drastically cutting) tax rates for the rich and corporations; they have ALEC and the State Policy Network raiding state public employees pensions to drive the entire population into poverty. When Charles Koch says $34,000 annually puts dirt poor Americans in the richest one percent by third world standards, he is preparing Americans for his vision of America to rival living conditions in China and India where those earning $32,000 annually are regarded as the wealthy elite.

It is no exaggeration to claim at least half of Americans are either extremely poor or low income that qualifies them as living in dire poverty according to the Census Department’s “Relative Poverty Measure used in developed countries to measure poverty.” It is likely there are way more than half the population living in poverty because even people barely surviving are likely to over-report their financial situation because no American wants to admit that despite working hard and scrimping to put food on their families’ tables and a roof over their heads, they are stuck in poverty. One thing is certain though, they know that although Charles Koch tells them they belong to the world’s richest one percent, in the richest country on Earth they are still living in dire poverty and with the Koch brothers’ cabal funding Republicans in Congress, they know they will never escape and can look forward to the rest of the population joining them much sooner than later.

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39 Replies to “Charles Koch Says The Poor Have It Really Good So They Need to Stop Complaining”

  1. My wife and I are making $60,000 a year combined yet we’re barely meet our needs due to rising prices of foods, gas, auto repairs, and outrageous internet, electricity, and phone bills. We never have a cable tv due to its phobitive prices by Comcast. Koch brothers really thought it is cheap to be poor in this country? Damned them to hell.

  2. “Quit complaining” the refrain of some wealthy who bitch continually about having to go through the bother of recognizing that there are indeed others with whom they have to share this planet. One might chalk it up to a guilty conscience, but that would assume the nagging, whining, entitled elite, have one.

  3. The price of commonly-bought foodtuffs has gone up at least five times, and as much as ten, since mid- Twentieth Century .I clearly remember:

    Sirloin steak, $1.00 a pound.
    Milk,.55 a gallon
    Coffee, $.33 a pound
    Bread, $.25 a loaf

    I realize that, in the same era, bringing home $100 a week was doing good. Still, there were far fewer empty tables, most even major cities had farms and dairies around them, and nothing was GMO.

  4. This scumbag is doing all he can to destroy this country. They need to be held accountable for all the DAMAGE THEY HAVE DONE.

  5. The rich complain about everything. The complain until they pay no tax, get every deduction and take all our money, that should be used for us and fixing roads and such. Sucking all the money out of public education, until only those they deem worthy or can afford it can go. All they want to do is rape and misuse the earth. They are the one making the laws against women, against any kind of regulation. Their goal is slaves, get the blinders off. They want us to be so disparate that we will do anything for a piece of food, fight over a job that pays pennies, even sell our children to them.

  6. LMAO, surely you jest charles?!! I guess not! folks this IS todays modern republican party! look at it, smell it! taste it! It’s ALL a money grab!! MONEY!! the republican party through reagan, to both bush presidencies has been nothing but a Hostle takeover our our democracy and country!! from bottom feeders like beck, o’reilly, palin, limbaugh to the real players like cheney and the koch boys!! they’ve orchestrated this invasion very very smoothly, from ayn rand recruiting reagan, to be a patriotic, grandfatherly hero that even CONNED democrats into voting for him! LMAO, reagan conned caucasian democrats, the black community didn’t buy that B rated actors BS for one minute! ANYWAY, charles koch, you and your kind have raped this country to the point the middle class is on life support!! but it’s NOT over yet!! I support the democratic party because the republican party want to either KILL me or make me a wage SLAVE!! maybe mr. koch, it’s time for a REVOLUTION!! what ya say???…

  7. The continuation of figuring poverty along 1950s standards without incorporating the multifold increase in costs of living and without considering the stagnation of labor wages is the clog that drives the big divide of income inequality. None of these Republican legislators have a clue what it is like to be in poverty while working your ass off daily. While it may be delusional on my end, I sincerely believe that these Republican legislators wouldn’t be able to sustain my life for more than a week. And yes, I too would like to be paid a full salary while only working a third of the available time, just like our Congressional members are being paid $174K for the year while working on 112 days. If I only worked a third of my scheduled time, I would be fired without a doubt. If anyone doesn’t know how good they have it, it is our Congressional members who have no shame in obstructing any and all policies aimed at helping the least vulnerable amongst us. Vile people they are.

  8. I want food, power, transportation and so on to cost the same as the 3rd world countries–then $35,000 is rich, kinda.

    I did mention power–whoops, that would tread on the Bros. Actually, so would food because it is transported and that takes fuel. Gee, they pretty much have their sticky fingers into everything, don’t they?

    It’s not just the Bros.–Repubs on the street think that poor means clothing is in rags, open sores, no legs, and one of those little carts with four wheels to move around on. Slightly worse off than Job at his nadir.

    Now that’s a poor person. Go ahead, just ask that conservative, Repub, tea-partier type person you know. And they think the same about that poor person as Job’s neighbors did about him–must have deserved it.

  9. This is how ignorant the Kochs and their lackeys are. They want us to be consumers while paying no money. If they paid more we could spend more which goes back to them anyway. Wanna sell more houses, cars, tvs, etc., pay people more money and they will surely spend it. Secondly, they hitch their wagons to politicians who for the most part are morally bankrupt and loyal to nothing. They’re both smiling while while waiting to stab one another in the back.
    To the Kochs and their buddies I would Say this. A hurricane starts with a gentle breeze. The populist and progressive movements are ever growing. People are fed up. When people lose their hope and their dreams die, that is when they are most dangerous.
    The best invention in modern times has been the internet. Peoples knowledge of their world and the bigger picture is growing exponentially. That is something the billionaires cannot control.
    Know this billionaires. As we educate and organize, soon we will be knocking on your door.

  10. if that’s the case, then it would seem to me that Charles Koch would be out fighting to get the cost of living back down to where it was in the 50s. Otherwise he is simply somebody who makes too much money and does not have a relevant point of view

  11. Who the fuck died and put the Koch brothers in charge of the U.S.A.? What the hell is really going on here today in “our” own country people? Two very sick-minded, evil, people with a lot of money have bought our government and everyone of us citizens and residents (peasants) with it. In my opinion. Its time to change this channel people. This program actually sucks. The problem is folks that this is not just happening on television and the news, it is actual “reality” for all of us servants of the elite 1%. I cant believe that we have allowed this bullshit too happen to us. They say its not over until the fat lady sings America. Lets hope so. I haven’t heard her sing yet. Have you??? Its now time to clean this shit up people before they put us all in their GOP GOD’S “HELL ON EARTH” theme park. LAND OF THE FREE HOME OF THE BRAVE (we shall soon see)…

  12. Republicans will rue the day they allied with these kochsuckers. Sure they are birds of a feather because right now they have a common opponent. But we will hold our own. The popcorn will be popping when they turn on the establishment republicans. They already have as much money as republicans and one thing I have learn in life is sharing power does not work. Example: How many conservative republicans have been teabagged already?

  13. We should create labor camps where the top 1% are dragged from their homes in the middle of the night and forced to live at minimum wage with no help from anyone.

  14. I recently came across my father’s 1966 tax information. He worked as a “hired hand” for a rancher/farmer in the Oklahoma panhandle and was provided with a 1bd 1ba 500sq/ft house (very reminiscent of the Green Acres house) with paid utilities plus a side of beef twice a year. Other than that he received $50.00 per month.

    My mother was a typical 1960’s “housewife” with a 4yr old and a newborn baby. We also had a well used station wagon, no insurance of any kind, no telephone and 3 over-the-air TV channels if the weather was right.

    It seems the Koch’s think that would be perfect living conditions for a family of 4 even today.

  15. In a nutshell, if you are not sleeping in a corrugated carton you’re rich.
    Comparing Americans to folks in 3rd world countries is just an obscenity

  16. if the Koch brothers think I have it so good, then they should demonstrate this by living on my wages for a year, with absolutely NO access to any of their vast resources. live in what you can afford on those wages. drive what you can afford, if you can afford it. and if it breaks learn how to fix it because there is no other way to get to work. eat what you can afford, and do whatever you can for fun with anything you have left over.

    I bet those clowns waste more food in a year than my family eats, and they say I have it good? clueless morons……

  17. What I find funny is the Kochs help fund and develop the crazy teabaggers and now they have run rampant in the streets. Even Dr. Frankenstein couldn’t control his monster.

  18. Seems that there are a lot of similarities between the current USA societal monetary conditions in the USA with that of the France in the past.
    The french people solved the situation with what is now called the French Revolution.
    I wonder how this will be addressed by society in the USA? How much longer will the people of the USA allow this situation to continue? The future is not ours to see.

  19. The bright side is they are both in their 80s and even billions can’t buy immortality. They’ll be gone in ten years. Unfortunatly so will I.

  20. Did anyone verify the article…or is this just the same crap both sides pull to rally their Boys and Girls…The Kochs are just like ALL the rich both Left and Right..don’t fool yourself into think that George Soros thinks any better of you than the Koch Brothers!!!

  21. George Soros Pledges $1.1 Billion to Fund Climate Change Initiatives
    Read more at http://cleantechnica.com/2009/10/14/george-soros-pledges-11-billion-to-fund-climate-change-initiatives/#kGSfj6U3aLOpLXBe.99

    Inside Koch’s Climate Denial Machine
    http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2010/04/inside-kochs-climate-denial-machine

    In order to prevent serious injury, please make sure you are smarter than the equipment you are about to use………
    Stop being stupid

  22. While the rich elites are claiming poor folks “aren’t poor” because they have flush toilets, they are robbing America blind.

  23. You know Steve, I’m calling some conservative bullshit on your typically conservative bullshit comment. You can do what everyone else with a brain does if they want verification and follow the links the author put in the story if you don’t believe the thesis, but that would take a little incentive. We see that “both sides do it” all the time and it’s always a dirty teabagger or slimy conservative behind the comment. Where are the old up or down votes because I’d give you 100 down votes for being a douche and a stupid one at that.

  24. So we’re having to explain to rich folk that American’s don’t live in India or China, they live in America? Wow… so how did they get rich again?

  25. Shhh…don’t give them any ideas Novenator. They’ll rob us of our toilets if they think it’s making our lives too easy.

  26. If the poor could inherit the wealth of the Koch Brothers who will hopefully die off soon, they could probably join the middle class. What’s that you’re saying? There IS no middle class?

    I wonder what’s in the Koch Bros.’s will? I’m betting it doesn’t include anything for the poor.

  27. In 100 lifetimes you proles could never repay what the Koch brothers have done for you and your country, and this is the thanks they get? It’s a damned good thing the favors they did you also benefited THEM as well, because I sure wouldn’t put up with these kind of smears if I were in their shoes.

  28. First of all, in third world countries, food, housing, and all other basic needs are far less expensive than here. Many folks are provided free land and they build their homes of local materials and have no such thing as loans and mortgages. Often, they live in compounds and share resources. They do not have access to our technologies, but it is a very different life they lead. Those folks also do not pay taxes so the rich can drive on paved roads, enjoy the safety and security and other govt services. Life is much different and the bottom line if those countries are made up of rich and poor. Do they really want America to be rich and poor and nothing in between? Who will pay for their infrastructure? There will be no big brother from a developed country providing aid, no middle class keeping all services going and maintaining order and commerce. They are idiots and they are slimey liars who buy our govt officials and lie on television ads about those they don’t like.

  29. Since when has George Soros whined about foodstamps?

    When has George Soros had a sad about Head Start?

    When has George Soros shot off his mouth about Social Security?

    When has George Soros been a noisy dickhole about women’s access to contraception?

    When did George Soros have the goddamned nerve to say that people who get minimum wage are spoiled crybabies being paid way too much? When has George Soros babbled that public transportation was way too luxurious for the people that use it?

    Well, dickbreath? I’m waiting here.

    I work in a call center for $8.25 an hour, and have to drive myself there, because not only can I NOT take the bus to work, THERE IS NO public transportation for me to use. I do not have the option of carpooling with anybody, because I do not live near enough to anyone I work with. Since I get 8.25 hourly, I have to save up for the computer and car repairs i need. I can buy my clothes, but right now I do not make enough to move closer to wo…

  30. The rich in this country are richer than any other rich people in any other country. SO QUIT COMPLAINING AND TRYING TO CONTROL OUR POLITICAL SYSTEM YOU ASSHOLES!

  31. I agree with a previous comment. It’s going to take a Revolution. It’s getting worse. Nothing will change without massive outrage. We might have to literally take it to the streets. The game is rigged. How about voter ID laws being passed in states right before Nov. 2014? The plan is to steal elections. May as well ask African Americans to count jelly beans in a jar. They’re setting us back to pre-Civil Rights Era.

  32. Notice Republicans & the religious zealots are chipping away at women’s rights? It’s getting worse. Women have to drive across 2 or 3 states to get legal abortions.

    Religious zealots want to make contraception illegal. In 2014 for f*ck sake. How can we let them get away with it? That smug walrus Judge Scalia & his ilk will probably vote against the ACA’s contraception mandate & for Hobby Lobby. Where do we go from the supreme court. There is no where else to go. I see a major backlash, a revolution..or we just put up with them disrespecting women & passing laws that they’d never consider for men.

  33. The Koch’s AFP are out with ads trashing vulnerable Dems 8 months before Nov. The Kochs hide like rats in the dark while their faux “grassroots orgs” & Rep politicians do their dirty work. The Kochs are winning in congress, the courts, in states who legislate archaic laws written by Koch funded ALEC.

    We outnumber them but lack the discipline to vote their corrupt asses out. Even if we turn out, voter suppression stacks the odds against us. How do you combat 2 of the most corrupt, evil, pollution spreading billionaires in America? Numbers, massive outrage..in the streets. Like Moral Mondays X thousands. You can not reason with their insane, neanderthal ideology & greed.

  34. Besides having a lot of money and being a very corrupting influence on many of the people now working against us “all” in our own government systems (in my opinion) how much of a real physical threat (not counting lawyers) like private Armies, Navies and Air forces do these “two” Koch brother’s have at their disposal “today” to actually physically fight and control us (the 99%) citizens and residents of the U.S.A. if this crazy shit that they are doing to us all should happen to get out of control and really get ugly? If they and their bought and paid for govt. puppets are allowed by us to take complete control of our police and military forces, pitch forks and torches might not do the trick this time my fellow peasants. Lets get with the “good” people in our govt. and stop them now before this evil crazy shit that they are now trying to do to us actually gives us “all” no choice but resorting to violence in order to survive. In my opinion.

  35. This is THE easiest country in the world to become successful in and THAT is a fact. ANYONE can start with zero in the country and end up with a mansion and that is another fact.

    The fact is 10% of the people have 90% of the money as they combine hard work with risk. If you choose to be a plumber I can, with almost total accuracy, tell you how much money you will have 40 years later. If you start a business with $1,000 in cash, I couldn’t tell you where you will be in 10 years within a million dollars. Personal risk combined with hard work makes people rich. My wife and I started out business when we lived in a van, and we now have 300 retail locations across the country and have made a lot of people rich.

    Quit complaining and start running your own business. Create jobs, create wealth, and take care of everyone along the way. THAT is how you do it.

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