Sunday, October 06, 2013

THE KOCH BROTHERS

The Koch Brothers (pronounced like "coke," but I prefer "cock."); who are they? These multi-billionaire brothers are the big money behind a lot of conservative causes, including the Tea Party. They are heavily invested in the fight to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), as one example of their involvement in American politics. In 2012, the brothers donated at least $200 million to Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce. The Board of Directors of another conservative group, Freedom Partners, is led by a long-time executive of Koch Industries. Freedom Partners claims at least 200 business members, each paying at least $100,000 dues. The group provided $115 million last year to the Center to Protect Patient Rights, another group fighting Obamacare. 

A quick look at the Koch Industries website shows a list of companies owned by the Brothers:

  • Flint Hills Resources
  • Koch Pipeline Company
  • Georgia-Pacific
  • Koch Fertilizer
  • INVISTA
  • Koch Chemical Technology Group
  • Koch Supply and Trading
  • Koch Minerals
  • The Matador Cattle Company
  • Koch Business Solutions, L.P.
These are each huge companies, many global in scope, and many based on the petroleum industry. 

It is interesting to contemplate how we are each linked to these Koch companies, and that contemplation is beyond the scope of this blog. However, as an example, I took a quick look at INVISTA. 

From the INVISTA website: INVISTA transforms daily life through its innovations in the nylon, spandex, polyester and specialty materials industries. You may find INVISTA's products in your clothing, carpets, cars and computers—just to name a few. Included in their product line, INVISTA manufactures these fabrics that you might have heard of (and might be wearing right now): Cordura, Coolmax, Lycra, Thermolite, and also Stainmaster carpeting and Dacron fiberfill. 

The Koch brothers are very successful businessmen, and they put huge amounts of their money into very politically conservative causes. There are also reports that the brothers are starting to buy media outlets; I'll let you think about that one.

Think about the $200 million ($200,000,000) that the Brothers donated to the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce last year to fight the Affordable Care Act. And by the way, this was just one of many, many donations the Brothers make to conservative causes. Consider that the 2013 federal poverty guidelines, the annual income that defines "poverty" in the United States, lists $15,510 for a family of 2 people, and $23,550 for a family of four. Census Bureau data for 2013 show that 46.5 million Americans are living in poverty; that's 15% of us! The $200 million spent by the Brothers to get rid of the Affordable Care Act, a law that would provide health insurance for people in poverty who previously couldn't afford it, represents the annual income of 12,895 2-person families living at the poverty line, or 8,493 4-person families living at the poverty line. 

The Koch brothers are the big money behind the Tea Party movement, those wonderful people who have shut down the federal government. Without the Koch money, the Tea Party might not have gotten off the ground. 

Think about this as you put on your Lycra running tights, your Coolmax t-shirt, your Dacron fiberfill winter vest, and your Cordura day-pack.

---

2 comments:

Ross/Roz said...

Indeed these guys are responsible for lots of really bad stuff.
However.... there is a big controversy about a documentary about the Kochs that PBS has refused to air. Many petitions circulating on the internet. I saw a private copy of the documentary recently and I'm sad to report that if I were making decisions at PBS I wouldn't show it either. It really was an intellectually insulting piece of film. I despise the Kochs, but after an hour of that documentary I was beginning to think "if these filmmakers are against them, maybe they aren't so bad"
just sayin,....

Paul said...

Certainly everyone, including the Kochs, are more than one dimensional. In fact, the Kochs probably support good causes (I have no info on this). However, they were primary funders of the Tea Prty, and continue to dump hundreds of millions into these very dangerous (to democracy) causes.

It's difficult to not demonize people like them, and I'm a mere mortal blogger.

thanks for the omment Ross.

Twitter