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One thing I’ve come to value in the last couple of years is the altruism and keen economic insights of the fourth richest man in America: Charles Koch.
Even though Koch was raised rich and has now amassed a personal fortune of about $34 billion, he recently gave us a deeper sense of his true worth, measured not in dollars, but in values: “We want to do a better job of raising up the disadvantaged and the poorest in this country,” he declared. Excellent thought – FDR couldn’t have put it better! Noting that a big problem for the poor is that the Powers That Be “keep throwing obstacles in their way,” Koch cut to the chase, saying, “We’ve got to clear those out.”
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Yes, Charlie, I’m with you! Clear out such barriers as the offshoring of middle class jobs, union busting, poorly funded schools, and the lack of affordable healthcare, housing, and child care.
Good God, no! barked Koch. It turns out he intends to “help” poor people by eliminating – ready? – “the minimum wage.” Why? Because, explains this clueless son-of-the-rich, having a wage floor “reduces the mobility of labor.”
In case you don’t dwell in the plutocratic, narcissistic, Ayn-Randian fantasyland where the Kochs hang out, “labor mobility” is right-wing psychobabble for social Darwinism. Remove all remnants of America’s economic safety net, they coldly theorize (while wallowing in their nests of luxury), and the poor will be “freed” to become billionaires. As Charles puts it, with no protections, the disadvantaged would have to scramble just to live, thus freeing them to “start a business… drive a taxicab… become a hairdresser.”
What a visionary he is! Where you see massive, debilitating poverty, but he sees a Brave New World with millions of billionaire hairdressers! And the Kochs wonder why they’re considered kooks.
“Billionaire Koch Brother Says Eliminating The Minimum Wage Will Help The Poor,” www.thinkprogress.org, July 10, 2013.
“Absurd: Billionaire Koch Brother Claims Eliminating Minimum Wage Would Help The Poor,” www.alternet.org, July 11, 2013.
“Charles Koch launching Wichita campaign about economic freedom, government overreach,” www.kansas.com, July 9, 2013.
“Charles Koch,” www.forbes.com, March 2013.