We’re back on the Koch Brothers today. I know we seem to be spending an inordinate amount of time on these guys, but they are very dangerous. They have operated under the radar for so long without repercussions that I believe it’s important to keep their evil doings out there now that they have been exposed by Robert Greenwald.
“The Kochs are on a whole different level. There’s no one else who has spent this much money. The sheer dimension of it is what sets them apart. They have a pattern of lawbreaking, political manipulation, and obfuscation. I’ve been in Washington since Watergate, and I’ve never seen anything like it. They are the Standard Oil of our times.”
– Charles Lewis, Founder, Center for Public Integrity
The first thing that strikes you when you learn how the Koch Brothers operate is how smart they are. Evil though they may be, their persistence and intelligence cannot be denied. Their reach is so extensive that their ideological network is referred to as Kochtopus. Robert Greenwald, producer and director of the film “Koch Brothers: Exposed”, has credited his introduction to the Koch Brothers to the Jane Mayer 2010 article in The New Yorker titled “Covert Operations.”
One of the Koch’s pet projects is the dismantling of Social Security. They’ve invested about $28.4 million in this effort which has resulted in 297 commentaries, 56 studies and 6 books — all arguing against continuing Social Security. Greenwald calls it one of the best examples of the “echo chamber” effect. In essence, the Koch Brothers fund every step of the operation. They fund the think tanks that develop the message, like the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation, whose ‘experts’ are very adept at getting themselves on television. These words then end up in the mouths of the groups that they fund, such as Americans for Prosperity. These scripted ‘expert opinions’ are then parroted by the pundits, and then the Koch Brothers buy the politicians to bring their message to Washington. In short, the Koch Brothers own the American political process.
The constant message the American public hears about Social Security is that it’s going broke. Therefore, we have to cut benefits and raise the retirement age. In fact, none of this is true. It’s not just misinformation. These are outright lies. Social Security has a $2.6 trillion surplus. The so-called experts you hear day in and day out are nothing more than shills for the Koch Brothers.
One of the most irritating aspects of the Social Security argument is the way the experts, pundits and politicians refer to it (along with Medicare and Medicaid) as an ‘entitlement.’ Just pay attention to Paul Ryan’s speeches. Social Security is not an ‘entitlement.’ It is best described as an ‘earned benefit.’ Those that receive Social Security payments have been paying into the system for years. Listen to the politicians use cuts in social security as a way to reduce the deficit. Social Security has not contributed in any way to the deficit. Central among the items that have contributed to the deficit are tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, the fact that corporations pay negligible taxes, and the money-sucking endless wars we are waging.
The Koch Brothers want to end Social Security for two major reasons. Greed is a major factor. One result of eliminating Social Security is that more money will end up in their deep pockets. The other is ideological. They do not believe that government should provide any programs to help those in need. Of course, either way, they end up wealthier.