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The Kochs and Public Policy: A Clarification

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- January 19, 0201

“Oh how David Koch wishes he could have donated more to the arts and medical science and less to political causes. In this regard, when will the Left demand that private foundations stop propping up climate alarmism and redirect their donations to, say, pediatric research?”

In “David Koch Steps Down from Business and Conservative Political Group,” New York Times writer Jeremy Peters misses a very important common denominator in the business and political philsophy of David Koch and Charles Koch. This error is common and cannot be corrected enough.

Below, I comment on three quotations from Mr, Peters’s article.

“Using their powerful political group, Americans for Prosperity, they ramped up their political giving during the presidency of Barack Obama, whom Charles and David saw as seriously misguided and driven by a socialistic agenda that threatened the free-market, libertarian philosophy they espoused. The Obama administration’s approach to environmental and corporate regulation was, not incidentally, also a threat to their sprawling $100 billion-plus business, which involves everything from oil refining to manufacturing consumer products like Brawny paper towels and Stainmaster carpeting.”

Comment:

“Democrats accused the Kochs of using their money to back candidates who would be friendly to their pro-business, deregulatory vision, and tried to turn the brothers into the poster children for a broken and abused campaign finance system.”

Comment:

“David Koch’s influence has been felt far beyond politics. His name is on theaters, museums, hospitals and cultural institutions all over New York and beyond.” [The article list contributions, including medical, exceeding one billion dollars.]

Comment: These contributions were made possible by David Koch’s partial ownership of Koch Industries, Inc., a conglomeration of businesses that met the needs of consumers in competive, free markets.  There was very little “cronyism” involved per the business philosophy of Charles Koch. If the Kochs, for example, invested in political industries not anchored in fundamental consumer demand, that wealth would not have been created to then give away.

And if the political world was far smaller, civil society and not political society would be the beneficiaries. Oh how David Koch wishes he could have donated more to the arts and medical science and less to political causes. In this regard, when will the Left demand that private foundations stop propping up climate alarmism and redirect their donations to, say, pediatric research?

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