Charles Koch opened one of his billionaire political retreats to the press this weekend and he tossed out some feel-good rhetoric that fits with his ongoing PR campaign to make the Koch forces something less than the Darth Vader of American politics.
Who could not agree with this, as reported by CNN:
“We’re headed toward a two-tiered society — a society that’s destroying opportunities for the disadvantaged and creating welfare for the rich,” Koch said. “Misguided policies are creating a permanent underclass, crippling our economy and corrupting the business community,” he said, “present company excepted of course.”
Koch said clearing those obstacles would require getting business leaders to recognize that accepting “corporate welfare” — which he defined as subsidies and special preferences for business — is “suicide long term.”
“Short term, taking the principled path (is) going to cause some companies some problems, as it will Koch industries,” said Koch, who runs his business empire with his brother, David Koch. “But long term it will allow business people to continue to own and run their businesses.”
He singled out “big banks” as bad actors who have accepted handouts, including “massive bailouts” and taking “virtually free money from the Fed.” To maintain the status quo, the banks “Make big political contributions,” he said.
“This destructive cycle goes on and on,” he said.
I’ll tell you who can’t agree. The Republican Arkansas legislature, its Republican governor and Congress, that’s who. We’ve just come off a special legislative session to give taxpayer money from one of the poorest states to subsidize a defense contractor, Lockheed Martin, that has an annual budget that dwarfs that of the state of Arkansas. All in hopes of trickle-down from subsidizing a higher cost operator to get a federal contract to build military trucks.
That’s why the Koch PR campaign is so empty. He’ll say some nice things. But he’ll elect Republican politicians who give him all the tax and environmental preferences he want while grinding their boots on the necks of the people in various other ways.
Corporate welfare is gospel in Arkansas, Koch or no Koch.