Thursday, August 27, 2015

Are we ready for King Koch?

Charles Koch is laughing at us. He thinks democracy is a crock. The free market should make all decisions about the future, he says. It's only coincidental that he funds dozens of conservative think tanks and corporate front groups that are trying to bend the nation to his will. Thanks to the Supreme Court and their Citizen's United ruling, Koch can pretend he is enthusiastic about the free market while he is actually undermining it.

Koch is trying to set himself up as the one person who makes decisions about economic policy and foreign affairs in this country. He's going to spend $100 million in 2016 to keep control of the House and Senate. There's a word for someone who make all the decisions for a country. King. All hail King Charles I!

Without mentioning global warming King Charles told a recent interviewer at Politico that he opposes all renewable energy sources, not because he makes money by burning coal and oil in the atmosphere, but because these renewable, "green", sources are not competitive. They need subsidies to be competitive with already existing sources of energies.

King Charles takes us all for fools. That's why he's laughing at us. You see, he knows that every single industry in the US today began with a federal subsidy. What about railways, without which King Charles could not ship his coal to China where it pollutes the air and promotes lung cancer and other diseases of the lungs?

The railway industry in the US was heavily subsidized by Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War. Lincoln was looking for a way to get silver and gold back East to pay for Union arms.
So Lincoln arranged to give a subsidy to the Union Railroad of ten square miles of land and $48,000 for every mile of track they laid. The land became invaluable as soon as the railroad was built to carry produce back from the West to Eastern agricultural markets. So King Charles is currently benefitting from government subsidies to the railroads. But that's not all.

Koch also receives an oil depletion allowance to finance exploration for oil, and other benefits as well that amount to $5 billion each year delivered from US taxpayers to the oil industry.  Koch receives this check from the federal government, presumably cashes it, but claims he's against all such subsidies. Yes, he's against them, but he's happy to take the check. I'm sorry, but if you don't like living on the federal dole, why don't you try finding a business that doesn't force you to do that?

Koch has been lobbying for various things to help his business, though he's not saying what they are. This makes it difficult to argue with the man, because most of what he does is hidden from the public. One thing that's almost certain he has been lobbying for is the Keystone Pipeline XL. Koch stands to make a lot of money from his interests in tar sands oil.

Fossil fuel companies also receive a subsidy because the US does not charge them enough for leases on federal lands. The federal government could make $500 million more if it charged the same for oil leases as some of the states.

King Charles can't have it both ways. He can't profit enormously from government the way it is today and also claim he wants to do away with it. No one is that stupid. But King Charles thinks we are.

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