Of Kochs and Unions

Sure the Kochs spend money on politics. And they should spend more.


Lots of people sure hate the Koch brothers.

The Kochs get death threats like this: "If I had a chance to murder a Koch brother in cold blood, I would surely take it."

Jim Dean doesn't want to kill the Kochs, but he does want new laws to limit their influence. Dean's brother Howard was a Democratic presidential candidate, and Dean chairs a group called Democracy for America.

"Get money out of politics," Dean says on my show this week.

But Dean's not just unhappy because the Kochs have money to throw around. He doesn't like their politics.

"The Koch brothers are poster boys for everything that is wrong in politics because they spend so much," he says, and they have extreme goals like "getting rid of Social Security and environmental laws."

But they don't. They just think today's environmental laws go too far, and they want to save Social Security from going broke.

Dean says Social Security "has been one of the best social programs we've ever had." When I point out that it's unsustainable, he says, "The math works for another 20 years." Wow. 20 years.

If the Kochs' views were the same as George Soros', I don't think liberals like Dean would complain as much. But Dean claims he's no hypocrite.

"We don't like it when Democrats play the same game. Rahm Emanuel, mayor of Chicago … is giving away taxpayer-owned assets in the city to big businesses whose principals funded his campaign."

It is disgusting when big shots use their money to get handouts from government—ethanol subsidies, limits on sugar imports, loan guarantees for Boeing or special deals from Rahm Emanuel. That's government helping well-connected rich people, handing them money that once belonged to taxpayers.

But the Kochs aren't like that. The brothers made their billions by growing their businesses. That's a good thing. That's real wealth creation, jobs for people and products people want.

The Kochs oppose subsidies, even for their own company. They'd get rid of them if everybody else would.

I should disclose that I've spent time with both David and Charles Koch. They've paid me to speak at a few of their events. I happily took the money and gave it to charities. 

But anyone who understands libertarianism knows I'd agree with the Kochs even if I'd never met them. They are pro-immigration, anti-drug war. They want less defense spending. They got praised by Attorney General Eric Holder for their campaign to jail fewer people.

Why is the left so mad at them? It's definitely not because they're the only big spenders in politics.
During the last presidential election, it was reported that the Kochs spent $60 million. Tom Steyer, the big environmental activist, spent $70 million a few years later.

Yes, groups affiliated with the Kochs spent $400 million. But The Huffington Post reports that labor unions spent much more: $1.7 billion. Union spending dwarfs Koch spending.

I wish libertarians could just pay the government to shrink. But that's not going to happen soon.

The unions, unlike the Kochs, promote economic ignorance. They push rigid hiring rules, limits on firing lazy workers, "buy American" campaigns, taxes on imports and other ideas that stifle growth. They push inefficiency on a grand scale, and politicians usually go along.

But last month, I was surprised when New Jersey's governor, Chris Christie (R), vetoed a bill that would have required public contractors to buy American. He wrote, "these bills will simply drive up the price of doing business, and threaten job creation. Building economic walls around our state … will not improve the lives of our citizens." Right.

Christie is no libertarian, but maybe he attended an economic literacy seminar sponsored by the Kochs.
Since unions spend big to get politicians to outlaw smart, efficient business decisions, I'm glad when people like the Koch brothers come along to spread the message that government should spend less and get out of the way.

I wish the Kochs spent more on politics. They promote a message we don't hear often enough.

© Copyright 2015 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

Note: David H. Koch is a trustee of the Reason Foundation, which publishes Reason magazine and Reason.com.

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  1. They push rigid hiring rules, limits on firing lazy workers, “buy American” campaigns, taxes on imports and other ideas that stifle growth.

    And they crack heads when necessary.

    1. It’s enshrined in CA law.

    2. Something something omelettes, something something eggs…

      1. something something death star. sometging something complete.

  2. “Get money out of politics,” Dean says on my show this week.

    Sure, let’s get money out of politics.

    OK, so stop whining to the government to solve income inequality, provide old age pensions, progressively tax, etc.

    After all, we can’t have money in politics.

    Oh, when you say “get money of out of politics”, you mean, “shut up.”

    I see.

    1. I’m sure he also wants the money of George Soros, Warren Buffet, and the PubSec unions out politics, too.

      1. That money is bring used for honorable purposes, unlike corporate money that is being used for dishonorable political activities. After all, corporations aren’t people, whereas Soros, Buffet, and the millions of hardworking Union members in this country all are.

    2. If money should be out of politics, then public sector unions should not be allowed to spend a dime on picketing activities and no corporate news entity should ever be allowed to produce a T.V. show with a political agenda.

      For example, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver should be outlawed because HBO spends millions paying for and marketing that show, and engage in specific political advocacy.

    3. If you want to get money out of politics you have to get politics out of money. Cut the Federal government’s budget and oversight by 90% and no ome will spend millions of dollars on election campaigns.

      1. When I was a lobbyist that was basically what I replied to people who said they “hated lobbyists.” Want to reduce the number of lobbyists by 90%? Reduce the size and scope of government by 90%. Until then, we’ve got these pesky rights of free speech and to petition our government.

  3. Isn’t there evidence that money in politics has little to no impact on elections?

    Shouldn’t this be settled science that the Dems acknowledge?

    1. It’s so funny how some people say the Koch’s buy elections. I can’t think of a single candidate they “bought”. They sure as hell didn’t buy the presidency the last few times. So if they’re wasting all that money on candidates that don’t win, wouldn’t that make Dean happy?

      1. Economic stimulus…amirite?

  4. Have I mentioned I like Stossel?

    1. Dude, just ask him for a mustache ride and be done with it.

      1. Why does every relationship need to be sexual with you?

      2. whoa, ask him for one or offer him one? I think Franky might be offering.

        1. No Frank will invite him to a Montana BBQ.

          Stossel: Thanks, what is a Montana BBQ.

          Frank: Well it is a get together where there is some eating, some singing, some drinking, some dancing, some fighting and some loving.

          Stossel: Sounds great, what should I wear?

          Frank: Don’t matter much, just gonna be me and you.

        2. Stossel has a really nice mustache. Francis can offer, but it’s kind of bad manners.

          It’s like me offering you Prime Rib, and then you give me McDonalds in return.

    2. He writes at the level of a 10 year-old.

      1. Check out Montaigne over here.

      2. If so, that would still put him 9 years ahead of you.

        1. Stop insulting one year olds!

  5. The left doesn’t want to get money out of politics. They want to get the wrong money out of politics. Principals, not principles.

    1. They want to get the your money in their pockets.

  6. You know who else was a poster boy for everything that is wrong in politics…

    1. Rockefeller? Emanuel? Pontius Pilot?

      1. good morning…

        dee dah dah doo dee dee bee daabee doobee dee dee dee doh doh.

    2. Hilldawg?

    3. Pajama Boy?

  7. “Get money out of politics,” Dean says on my show this week.”

    Get politicians out of other peoples pockets.

    At any rate, Kochs make awesome toilet paper, that alone qualifies them to boss us around more than James Dean. What does James Dean make?

    1. I hear Jimmy Dean makes pretty good sausage…

      1. in a tube.

        1. Meat in tube form is delicious.

      2. Different Dean?

  8. In lefty politics, “Koch Brothers” means roughly the same thing as “Satan”. Not well defined, but people are supposed to know that it’s bad.

    1. One day I had never heard of them – the next they were Satan. One thing about the Left is they sure know how to get their talking points out fast.

  9. But they don’t. They just think today’s environmental laws go too far, and they want to save Social Security from going broke.

    Damn, finally found a good reason to not like the Kochs!

    1. To be fair, that’s what people say when they want lefties to actually listen to them.

      1. Does that mean I get to keep my monocle and continue to get the checks?

  10. Why is the left so mad at them?

    Mafiosi don’t like the competition.

    “The Koch brothers are poster boys for everything that is wrong in politics because they spend so much,” [Jim Dean] says.

    Read: “They spend so much in politics that don’t agree with me.”

    But Dean claims he’s no hypocrite.

    Which is why he also criticizes Soros and Steyer with the same zeal, out of principle…

    … uh, doesn’t he?

    1. Amen! I have used a similar argument with various family and friends who post Anti-Koch nonsense on Facebook…they’ll rail about how terrible they are and how we need to get money out of politics etc…

      I then ask their thoughts on Soros or Steyer or union campaign contributions and of course I am told that that’s completely different for reasons they are unable to define – it’s just different.

      1. It’s different because of who is doing it. Who matters more than what. Principals, not principles.

  11. Well, the Kochtopus almost ruined the country, but thank bejeebus that Obama saved us by vetoing the Keystone pipeline. Whew, that was close.

    1. Well, the Kochtopus almost ruined the country, but thank bejeebus that Obama saved Warren Buffett by vetoing the Keystone pipeline. Whew, that was close.


  12. Do we still have a meaningful Congress?

    They have nothing to hide:

    What Congress? The dog ate my homework!

    1. Well, that’s it then. Why bother anymore?

      1. “Chairman Wheeler and the FCC are not above Congress.”

        Well, apparently, they are.

        So, if a court summons me to testify at a hearing, I can just ignore them, right? I learned it from the Obama administration that this is what I’m supposed to to.

  13. Democrats in 2015 need the Kochs like the Iranians need Israel =

    they have nothing to sell their constituents except the idea they’re facing an evil enemy who must be destroyed. All their faults and failures and shortcomings are the consequence of the meddling of the enemy. Even the very fabric of all that is good and right and fair is being undermined by the vile conspirators (*see= citizens united). They must be opposed, even when there is little real information about what the enemy actually ‘supports’ (“they want to destroy the planet, privatize schools and end social security & impose Libertarian Anarchy Overnight!!)

    I suppose one could claim that Israel and the US need Iran almost as much for similar reasons; i’ve pointed that out here before. its just not as *necessary* as it is for the Dems, Iran.

    The part that always gets me laughing is the liberal insistence that “democracy itself” is on the verge of destruction… when what they’re really saying is, “OMG A republican might win” and wetting their pampers.

  14. & impose Libertarian Anarchy Overnight!!

    Where can I vote for these guys?

  15. The part that always gets me laughing is the liberal insistence that “democracy itself” is on the verge of destruction… when what they’re really saying is, “OMG A republican might win” and wetting their pampers.

    You don’t understand! Democrats represent democracy and the people! Republicans represent the rich, the oligarchs, the corporations, and everyone else who wants to literally enslave the population! That’s why poor people who vote for Republicans are delusional! They don’t understand that by doing so they are supporting policies that make the rich richer, the poor poorer, and bring us all closer to a feudal state where the corporations run the world!

    1. “Republicans represent the rich, the oligarchs, the corporations, and ….”

      “….the morally and intellectually inferior rural masses of bitter-clinging, gun owning racist redneck bible thumping rubes who fill our armies with their violent racist ideas and consistently vote against their own interests.”

      /what they really think

      1. They don’t think. They feel. They emote. If they did any thinking, then they’d realize they’re wrong about most things. But that doesn’t feel good, so they don’t do it.

        1. Yes they emote – and they do a hell of a lot of preening, posturing and grandstanding about their emoting as well.

    2. Democrats represent democracy

      Well, duh! It’s right there in their name: Democrats/ Democracy. /DERP

  16. they want to save Social Security from going broke.

    Huh? So they’re pushing for increasing the taxes?

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  18. When is Fox going to wise up, fire the Progressive O’Reilly, and give the show to Stossel? I guess the American electorate would have to wise up first, huh?

    IT’S ALL OVER COMRADES! And the socialists won.

  19. Buy American! Congress Critters for sale. Cheap.

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