Under attack and exposed, the Kochs have gone on the offensive, with their minions singing paeans of praise for our “benevolent” overlords.
In a tendentious, not to say mendacious collection of unsupported claims and distortions in an op-ed published in The Dallas Morning News on February 2, Doug and Holly Deason portray the Kochs as nothing less than champions of the American dream.
The authors of this piece are:
Doug and Holly Deason of Dallas, and co-signed by Dallas residents Thomas O. Hicks, Thomas Hicks Jr., Elaine Marshall, E. Pierce Marshall Jr., Sally and Forrest Hoglund, Tandy and Lee Roy Mitchell and Gayla and Jim Von Ehr. Reach the authors through Freedom Partners, firstname.lastname@example.org, an organization they support and that organized the Koch brothers’ recent gathering.
In other words, they are members of the Koch network through with the Koch brothers intend to spend $900 million to buy he 2016 elections.
Here is what they want you to believe:
What do Charles and David Koch want? What about the hundreds of men and women who joined them at their recent meeting in Southern California? Pundits across the country have asked this question over the past week, including Dallas Morning News editorial board member Rudolph Bush.
We attended that meeting — and we have an answer. We want Washington to do what it hasn’t done for years: work for, not against, the American people.
Of course, all the evidence shows that what the Kochs really want is a government that works for the 1 percent and for corporations. You know, the new “people” – corporations – as opposed to the outmoded Mk. I human, who is to be consigned to serfdom on behalf of our corporate overlords.
Yet our Koch-ites would have us believe:
This is not an easily achievable goal. It requires an impartial government that treats everyone equally. It requires an accountable government that is transparent and respects citizens’ rights. It requires an efficient government that spends taxpayer money prudently and understands what it should — and shouldn’t — do. And it requires a limited government that gives everyone, from Dallas to Detroit, the freedom they need to succeed.
That’s what we want: an impartial, accountable, efficient and limited government. Texas shows that this is possible — but Washington looks nothing like what we’ve described.
Again, what they want is a government that basically surrenders to corporate interests, a complete lack of regulation – regulation that protects consumers. Goodbye Consumer Protection Bureau. Goodbye Wall Street regulation. Goodbye EPA (which their bought-men in the House are already muzzling) and environmental protections. Hello to National Parks opened up to mining and fracking. Goodbye clean air, water, and food.
What is interesting is how this appeal is couched in terms one would take to be anti-special interests. Yet the Kochs are spending a fortune as a special interest group to get their way. Is the problem here that people other than the Kochs get to spend money too, to have their interests advanced?
After all, the Kochs are set to buy the 2016 election. How is this at all impartial? Do they want us to believe they are buying it for us, the American people? Because they are not. If they were, Koch-owned Republican governors would not be:
- Slashing wages and robbing pensions;
- Waging war on busses and mass transit;
- Attacking Social Security;
- Attacking women’s rights;
- Attacking the minimum wage.
In fact, the list of things the Kochs are against is too long to present here. Suffice it to say, anything that is important to you – like sick days and parental leave – they are against. These are not the acts of middle-class friendly benefactors. No, everything the Kochs do the Kochs are doing for themselves.
Impartial? Special interests have never been more powerful in Washington. Both Democrats and Republicans hand out corporate welfare like it’s candy, spending billions of taxpayer dollars every year to prop up well-connected businesses and individuals. Meanwhile, politicians make millions of dollars through questionable deals and insider knowledge. We oppose everything that props up this self-serving system, including subsidies, favorable regulations, pork and special favors.
Accountable? The federal government increasingly stifles the free speech of its opponents. Both parties have attempted to limit Americans’ ability to speak their minds about elections and politicians. Last year, 54 U.S. senators voted to amend the First Amendment to give Congress unlimited power to control political speech. And some federal agencies — especially the Internal Revenue Service — have targeted individuals and groups with which they disagree.
And the idea of accountable corporations is laughable. Corporations are accountable only to their board of directors and board of directors are not elected by the American people but by stockholders. They are not accountable and they are not answerable to the people the Kochs are pretending to defend. Governments, however, when they do not serve the common weal, can be voted out and replaced.
Efficient? Federal spending is out of control — and more wasteful than ever. Since 2009 alone, the federal government has added nearly $7.5 trillion to our national debt, taking it to more than $18 trillion total. Nor will America’s financial future improve, with annual federal deficits expected to start climbing back up to $1 trillion or more within the next few years. Americans’ children and grandchildren face paying an unpayable tab, yet politicians in Washington still want to spend more.
The first thing to note here is the economy does better under Democratic presidents. That’s a fact. The numbers tell the tale. It is not the Democrats who are the big spenders, but the Republicans. Paul Ryan’s budget, for example, adds nearly $100 billion to the deficit. Pesky facts, unhelpful facts for the Koch-boys and -girls, but facts nonetheless.
And please, corporations are anything but efficient. Anyone who has worked in project or program management or program scheduling knows how catastrophically inefficient corporations are. The idea that a corporation can be less wasteful than government is absurd.
And limited? The government is so vast that federal officials can’t keep track of the number of federal agencies. The Federal Register, which contains all federal law, is over 79,000 pages long. As for those innumerable federal agencies, they have written over 175,000 pages of regulations — red tape that costs the economy more than $1.9 trillion every year and affects your daily life without you even knowing it.
The length of the Federal Register is not a legitimate cause for complaint. Laws are necessary, and in an increasingly technological and complex global marketplace, more necessary than ever. Laws are not the enemy. Bad laws are the enemy. Bad laws like those the Republican Congress are so intent on passing.
It is interesting that laws are bad but not, apparently, laws attacking women’s reproductive health, or our healthcare, or marriage equality. Many of these laws actually attack other laws, laws put in place to protect us from the rapaciousness of banks and corporations. The argument presented here is so simplistic than you have to wonder if the authors actually thought about what they were saying before they wrote it down. Or if, as 1 percenters, they have that little respect for our cognitive abilities.
Simply look around you. We’re in the midst of the slowest economic recovery in over 50 years. The labor participation rate is at its lowest level since 1978, when Jimmy Carter was president. Families are making less today than they did six years ago. For the first time in recorded history, more businesses are now dying than starting. And Washington is doing better than ever, while the rest of America falls further behind.
This is a puzzling assertion. A Republican president drove the economy into the ground in 2008, creating the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. And yet, without any mention at all of President Bush or the 2008 recession, we are being told that “we’re in the midst of the slowest economic recovery in over 50 years”? Recovery from what, if not from the Great Recession?
We have experienced an incredible recovery under President Obama, and the recovery would be more complete if Republicans would step in and help rather than hinder. As reported by the AP at the end of January, “The economy is rebounding on nearly every front.”
In fact, the economy has been coming back so strong that Mitt Romney even used it as an excuse for his defeat in 2012. More critically still, the Republicans have publicly taken credit (and been slapped down by PolitiFact) for the economic recovery!
We believe, as do Charles and David Koch, that America deserves better. Together, we want to help the least fortunate, defend individual freedom and create lasting prosperity for more and more hard-working Americans. But that can’t happen until Washington is impartial, accountable, efficient and limited. That is what we want — and we will pursue it, no matter how long it takes.
It is difficult to see how attacking the minimum wage, robbing pensions, and attacking social security, help the less fortunate. But then the picture painted here is so out of touch with our shared reality that it is difficult to know what to say when all is said and done. This is a bold defense of the Kochs by his rich friends, but it is ultimately as dishonest as the Kochs themselves.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.