So it seems Charles Koch wrote an editorial while I was away. An editorial for the Rupert Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal, where he spends an entire column saying a whole lot of nothing. An editorial where he misstates facts, figures, and
March 7, 2011

So it seems Charles Koch wrote an editorial while I was away. An editorial for the Rupert Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal, where he spends an entire column saying a whole lot of nothing. An editorial where he misstates facts, figures, and twists up truth into his weird alternate reality.

I feel compelled to respond to him.

Dear Charles Koch,

In your March 1st editorial, you make the following statements:

Years of tremendous overspending by federal, state and local governments have brought us face-to-face with an economic crisis. Federal spending will total at least $3.8 trillion this year—double what it was 10 years ago. And unlike in 2001, when there was a small federal surplus, this year's projected budget deficit is more than $1.6 trillion.

This is a direct consequence of the costs of two wars which until 2008, were not added to the balance sheets. Funny how you fail to account for where the deficits arose, but are quick to point to their existence.

Several trillions more in debt have been accumulated by state and local governments. States are looking at a combined total of more than $130 billion in budget shortfalls this year. Next year, they will be in even worse shape as most so-called stimulus payments end.

Ironic that you would give any credit to the stimulus for helping states, given the enormous funds you've laid out to criticize any lawmaker who supported it. What hypocrisy is this? State and local governments are looking at shortfalls because tax revenues have not kept pace with expenditures. This is not the fault of individuals living in those states or municipalities. It is the direct effect of the failure of corporations to pay their fair share to do business in states, and the failure of those same corporations to employ workers in those states, causing those workers to rely upon governmental safety nets to get them by while their jobs are outsourced to countries where corporate profits can increase.

For many years, I, my family and our company have contributed to a variety of intellectual and political causes working to solve these problems. Because of our activism, we've been vilified by various groups. Despite this criticism, we're determined to keep contributing and standing up for those politicians, like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who are taking these challenges seriously.

Let's talk about your "activism", because it goes far beyond just political philosophy. You fund groups who actively seek to promote lies about the current President's place of birth, his legitimacy as a United States citizen, and undermine the mandate he received from voters in 2008. That's not "standing up" for anything.

Spending tens of millions -- even hundreds of millions -- to oppose climate change legislation isn't "activism". It's serving your own financial self-interests. That's not surprising, nor is it illegal, but it's certainly not as noble and high minded as "solving these problems."

Here are some problems your tens or hundreds of millions could be solving:

  • Preventing medical bankruptcy, which is still on the rise and will not end until all Americans have access to reasonably-priced health insurance BEFORE they get sick or fired.
  • Preventing the consequences of climate change instead of denying it exists.
  • Investing creatively in our future through green industry, high speed rail, and other projects which build up this country instead of tearing it down.

Instead, you deny climate change, pay millions to lobby for the defeat of climate change legislation, buy politicians who must do your bidding and vote to de-fund the Affordable Care Act (and any other good and decent thing government does).

You call this 'activism'. I call it destruction.

Federal data indicate how urgently we need reform: The unfunded liabilities of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid already exceed $106 trillion. That's well over $300,000 for every man, woman and child in America (and exceeds the combined value of every U.S. bank account, stock certificate, building and piece of personal or public property).

Again, you fail to note the cost of conducting two wars. If you were honest, you'd be paying your teabagging minions to be out protesting the war instead of gay marriage. But you're not honest, not even a little bit honest. In fact, I doubt there's anything honest in this entire editorial of yours at all, other than the words you DIDN'T say: You don't give a damn whether the government goes under at all. You'd like it to go under, because in your world, corporations are king. No, you say? I say yes, and you confirm it right here:

Government spending on business only aggravates the problem. Too many businesses have successfully lobbied for special favors and treatment by seeking mandates for their products, subsidies (in the form of cash payments from the government), and regulations or tariffs to keep more efficient competitors at bay.

Baloney. That's just ballsy of you to even say. Have you forgotten this little nugget? Yes, that's right. Koch Industries, while seeking to undo the Affordable Care Act for ordinary Americans, applied for "government spending", or as you like to put it "crony capitalism."

Crony capitalism is much easier than competing in an open market. But it erodes our overall standard of living and stifles entrepreneurs by rewarding the politically favored rather than those who provide what consumers want.

Who knows this better than Charles Koch himself, who spends millions and lends his name and clout to crony capitalism and eroding our overall standard of living, after all?

Because every other company in a given industry is accepting market-distorting programs, Koch companies have had little option but to do so as well, simply to remain competitive and help sustain our 50,000 U.S.-based jobs. However, even when such policies benefit us, we only support the policies that enhance true economic freedom.

Bullshit. If you did, you'd stop trying to put this entire country in bondage to oil consumptive profiteers. And your remarks following about ethanol would have more clout if they weren't about "competing on a level playing field" and instead addressing the starvation and food price hikes that result from corn being used for ethanol instead of FOOD.

Recent studies show that the poorest 10% of the population living in countries with the greatest economic freedom have 10 times the per capita income of the poorest citizens in countries with the least economic freedom. In other words, society as a whole benefits from greater economic freedom.

I don't even know what you're trying to say here, Mr. Koch, but the economic "freedom" in Ireland pushed them into bankruptcy and government collapse. You fund efforts abroad, too, so I'm sure you cheered when the Irish got austerity measures shoved down their throats after corporations razed the country and left it bankrupt. But to measure the 'per-capita income' of the poorest citizens in countries with the greatest economic freedom assumes their "income" has the same purchasing power across the board, which it does not. This is just numeric word salad intended to sound educated and authoritative, but it means absolutely nothing.

Even though it affects our business, as a matter of principle our company has been outspoken in defense of economic freedom. This country would be much better off if every company would do the same. Instead, we see far too many businesses that paint their tails white and run with the antelope.

And in your case, Mr. Koch, you roll over in intellectual vomit and lie with the pigs in dung. Don't presume to tell me what YOU think would be best for this country when you don't give a damn about the 'country' beyond what it does to your bottom line.

Your corporation would do well to step past its considerable bottom line, all of which inures to the benefit of you and your brother and your offspring, and think about the fact that you live in a world with people who actually bleed when they're cut, die when they're sick and untreated, and drown when the floods come. You may think you live on high ground, but what you're trying to do is dig a hole for the rest of us and call yourself noble.

I am confident that businesses like ours will hire more people and invest in more equipment when our country's financial future looks more promising. Laying the groundwork for smaller, smarter government, especially at the federal level, is going to be tough. But it is essential for getting us back on the path to long-term prosperity.

In other words, you'll hire people when you can pay them nothing or when they cannot collectively bargain for benefits or wages. In laymen's terms, slave labor. How extremely generous and optimistic of you.

Hell has a special room in it for you. At the very bottom.

Can you help us out?

For nearly 20 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.