Saturday, August 9, 2014

Five Major Problems with Charles Koch's Op-Ed in USA Today

From:  DailyKos 

by JayRiestenberg

Charles Koch's August 5th op-ed in USA Today is laughable. He spills out his vision of a country that works for the biggest corporations and richest 1% (like himself & Koch Industries), all while claiming that his agenda will help struggling American families. 

Here are the five major problems I see with Charles Koch's op-ed:

(1) He quotes Martin Luther King, Jr. I'm actually usually a fan when conservatives quote Dr. King, because King's message transcends partisan politics. Unfortunately, though, Charles Koch shouldn't be allowed to do this. New research from the Center for Media and Democracy shows that Charles Koch was a member of the far-right John Birch Society, which strongly opposed racial equality and civil rights. Koch has supported groups that push voter suppression laws that make it harder for people of color to vote. Koch supports busting unions, despite the fact that Dr. King was a strong supporter of unions and was assassinated on a trip to Memphis to support union sanitation workers' strike. Charles Koch does not get to co-opt Dr. King's message to fit his own, because Charles Koch stands against everything Dr. King stood for.

(2) He finds a way of attacking the minimum wage without saying it. In his op-ed, Charles Koch says  "we should eliminate the artificial cost of hiring." He never mentions the minimum wage, but we know what he is talking about. It is no secret that the Kochs oppose mandating that American workers get paid a a minimum wage. In fact, they not only oppose raising the minimum wage, they oppose its very existence. This is despite the fact that research has shown raising the minimum wage would actually help the economy and alleviate poverty.

(3) He quotes two right-wing think tanks that receive significant Koch funding. There is nothing like promoting research to prove your point that you helped fund. In the piece, Charles Koch uses research from the Mercatus Center and the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Nowhere in his piece, though, does he mention the amount of money those groups get from himself, his brother David, and Koch Industries. In fact, the total amount is unknown. Charles Koch and Koch Industries exec Richard Fink sit on Mercatus's board of directors and the think tank has received millions from Koch sources over the years. The Koch fortune also heavily funds the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Yet, to the average reader, those organizations seem like independent sources to validate Kochs' misguided free-market arguments, when the truth is they validate Kochs' arguments because the Kochs' paid them to.  MORE

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