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Until recently, Charles and David Koch were just a couple of anonymous billionaires. For years they’ve been financing a vast right-wing network dedicated to establishing a laissez-faire corporate utopia in America, operated in the shadows of politics, thus avoiding public scrutiny.
But – peekaboo, Kochs – we see you now!
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Their fortune is derived from Koch Industries, the second-largest privately held corporation in our country and (not coincidentally) an infamous contaminator of our air, water, land and climate. The brothers tout themselves as champions of the “free market” – but by “free,” they mean a corporation’s freedom to pollute for profit.
It’s dirty work they do, but the pay is great. Each of them has $21.5 billion in personal wealth – up $5 billion each in just the last two years. Both brothers are among the ten richest Americans.
Yet, the Kochs are also among the sourest of Americans. Despite taking more than their share of benefits from our great country, they constantly grump about public policies that, as Charles puts it, “threatens to erode our economic freedom.” It’s all about them, you see – they want to be free of anti-pollution regulations, labor laws, corporate taxes, and other policies that serve the common good. The public be damned.
So, for years, these grumpy billionaires have secretly been financing right-wing candidates and front groups (now including Tea Parties) in a personal crusade to crush government’s ability to rein in corporate avarice and arrogance. But as their political network has risen in prominence, the superrich, self-serving brothers are now being exposed to public view – and they’re not a pretty sight.
After all, the higher the monkey climbs, the more you see of its ugly side. Keep your eyes on these two.
“As Tea Party Koch Brothers Earned An Extra $11 Billion In Recent Years, They Laid Off Thousands,” www.alternet.org, February 1, 2011.