Koch Brothers To America: Suck it Up, You’re Also in the 1% (VIDEO)

A Lesson For Life

Is there anything worse than somebody who is better off than you, telling you how great you have it?  While they are dining in the best restaurants, playing golf on the best courses, traveling to the most exotic parts of the world, you are struggling to put a meal on the table.  To find the money at the end of the month to pay your mortgage or rent.  Deciding which utility is going to be paid and which will not.

There is a rule in comedy.  They say you never make fun of people that are socially and historically less fortunate.  It is those kinds of jokes that fall flat and cause a stir.  For example, a white comic should never say “nigg**” as an insult or punchline.  It is why Michael Richards lost his career, and how Richard Pryor made his.  Well, until his trip to Africa, where he was awakened to the fact that it is more than a word.  The same goes in life.  You do not use people who do not have a voice to further your agenda.

Steak for the Koch’s, Cat Food For The Rest

Enter the Koch brothers.

A new campaign being set out by the Koch brothers is an insult to every American reading this, regardless of politics.  The Koch brothers, whom’s net worth is somewhere around $68 billion, are here to tell you that you are rich!  That is right, folks.  You are in the 1% in their eyes.  Like every proud mother, the Koch brothers believe in you, and truly believe you have it all.

Here is the video:

So, what is the 1% in the eyes of the Koch brothers?  $34,000 a year.  Are you ready for that?  Each of the Koch brothers is estimated to be worth $34 billion each.  That means, if you make .0001% of what they are worth, you have complete “economic freedom” in America.  Of course, our definition of economic freedom, and theirs is quite different.

What is economic freedom to the average person?  Maybe it means you can put a down payment on a home.  Or perhaps, it means you are able to go out for a nice dinner once in a while without worrying about your pocket book.  Maybe it means having the option to start a family and know you will be secure enough to give your children a good life.  But, to the Koch brothers, it means something completely different and much more sinister.

For starters, the Koch brothers want the “economic freedom” to eliminate the minimum wage.

“We want to do a better job of raising up the disadvantaged and the poorest in this country, rather than saying ‘Oh, we’re just fine now.’ We’re not saying that at all. What we’re saying is, we need to analyze all these additional policies, these subsidies, this cronyism, this avalanche of regulations, all these things that are creating a culture of dependency. And like permitting, to start a business, in many cities, to drive a taxicab, to become a hairdresser. Anything that people with limited capital can do to raise themselves up, they keep throwing obstacles in their way. And so we’ve got to clear those out. Or the minimum wage. Or anything that reduces the mobility of labor.”

Next, in the Koch brothers economic freedom, is the right to destroy the waterways and air with out the government stepping in.

“The Political Economy Research Institute ranks Koch Industries as the tenth worst air polluter in the U.S. in their Toxic Release Inventory.  CARMA reports that Koch releases about 200,000 tons of atmospheric carbon dioxide annually.

Koch Industries has a long record [PDF] of environmental crimes and violations, including, but not limited to:

  • A $1.7 million fine by the EPA and $500 million commitment to correct pollution violations in seven states
  • Millions of gallons of spilled oil from Koch pipelines throughout the past decade
  • A $25 million settlement with the U.S. government in 2001 after falsifying extraction records for oil collected on Native American and federal land
  • A $20 million settlement in 2000 for falsifying documents relating to a major release of the carcinogen benzene
  • A 1996 explosion that killed two teenagers due to a leaking Koch gas pipeline

While David Koch, a victim of prostate cancer, has donated millions to cancer research institutions and is a member of the National Cancer Advisory Board, Koch Industries subsidiary Georgia-Pacific is actively working to downplay the dangers of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.”

It also means the right to buy politicians to further their own cause.  In regards to legislation that was aimed at deterring the use of “sue and settle” practices over regulations.

“This is an anti-regulatory bill drafted by the American Legislative Exchange Council, also known as ALEC,” Representative Johnson (D-GA) said during the House Judiciary subcommittee hearing. “The Koch brothers have used ALEC to invest in radical ideas. Passage of this bill would have a dramatic, dastardly impact on air and water quality.  Assuming that the Koch brothers have contributed more than $700,000 [to the Competitive Enterprise Institute], is it logical to think they would have some influence on the results the research that that entity produced?”

These are just three very simple examples of how the Koch brothers idea of economic freedom differ from ours.  They believe that economic freedom means we get the pleasure of working for them, while they get the pleasure of raping every last resource available in the world.

A Warning From The Past

And it is in this spirit, I am remind of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1936 satirical, yet prophetic warning.

“Let me warn you, and let me warn the nation, against the smooth evasion that says ‘Of course we believe these things.

We believe in social security.
We believe in work for the unemployed.
We believe in saving homes.
Cross our hearts and hope to die. (laughter and applause)

‘We believe in all these things.

But we do not like the way that the present administration is doing them. Just turn them over to us.  (laughter and applause)

We will do all of them,
we will do more of them,
we will do them better and, most important of all,
the doing of them will not cost anybody anything'”

Meanwhile, Back In The Real World

A quick rundown of the writer.  I am 27 years old.  I am married.  I own a home.  I am college educated, with a degree in History.  I graduated in the top 5% of my class, with honors.  After school, I had a difficult time finding a job in general, let alone in my field.  Eventually, I landed at the job I have now.  I worked at this place during summers since I was in 9th grade, and finally went full time.  It is a multimillion dollar company, that deals with architecture.  I make less than $25,000 a year, before taxes.

Out of that comes taxes, my health care, my wife and my cell phone bill, our mortgage, groceries, and every other bill you could imagine.  This past week, my company decided to switch to a “high deductible” insurance policy.  In short, it is $3,000 a year for my wife and my premium, and then before we start having the ability to get copay’s for doctors, prescriptions, etc., we have to pay and additional $3,000 towards our deductible.  Before that point, everything is out of pocket on our end.  I do not know how I am going to make it from here on out.

If the Koch brothers think that $10,000 more than what I am making now will bring me from the bottom of the middle class, up to their level at the top 1%, they have another thing coming to them.

A Real Solution

Perhaps the Koch brothers should try living on that .0001% of their fortune, leave the rest of it behind.  Or, better yet.  Distribute their wealth to every American, and take a $34,000 a year salary.  Or, how about this idea.  Pay your fair share of taxes in return for what you get out of this country.

And, please allow me to explain how I see the phrase ‘fair share.’  While I do not blame the Koch brothers for taking advantage of every legal loophole available to them, after all, we do it.  If they did not, they would be fools.  I do blame them for the illegal shell companies they have set up, and for hiding money in different countries.  The very country where people buy their products, they transport their products over our public roadways, they use our waterways, our sewage system, our police forces.  And, they are getting all of this for free.  So, when I say pay their ‘fair share,’  this is what I refer to.  And, perhaps we should consider electing officials that will pass meaningful tax reform to ensure the people who reap the most out of this country, also return the most.

If you take nothing else away from this, remember.  Money does not trickle down, it flows up.  So, while $34,000 may be a dream for many of us, it is far from being well off.  And unthinkable to be considered 1%.  And while the economy continues to lag, is it any wonder with hypocritical thinking such as this.  Economic freedom for us means being comfortable.  Economic freedom to the Koch’s means economics free from America.

A Little Gift For You

And, since you have been good, and stuck with this article until the end, I have a gift for you.

Salvatore Aversa on twitter
Salvatore Aversa
Salvatore Aversa attended Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. He graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in History in 2009. He currently resides in Pittsburgh, PA with his wife Nicole and their Chocolate Labrador Godiva.