Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Koch's Wealth

I recently reviewed some of the numbers concerning the combined wealth of the Koch brothers. For those who don't know, the Kochs are oil moguls from Kansas who has accumulated approximately $103 billion in net worth over the course of their lifetimes.

Now, I don't consider myself to be too much of a radical, but I can realize injustice when I see it. The injustice of this net worth is that it is greater than the combined worth of 40.2% of American households. One might wonder what the Kochs do with that amount of money, as it is difficult to even visualize. One outlet or expenditure they have found is campaign or super pac financing. For the 2012 election cycle, the Koch brothers have pledged to spend $400 million to finance Republican candidates... an obscene amount that would not have been possible prior to the Citizens United  decision of 2009.

What bothers me most about this electoral reality is the fact that the Kochs are spending money as a benefit to their own self interests. Unfortunately, those self interests too often run against the interests of millions of Americans. If they Koch's financial backing of Republicans proves successful in November, their chosen candidates will work to overturn healthcare reform, cut important social programs, and decrease financial and environmental regulation. All these policy possibilities will hurt the 40.2% of Americans that the Kochs overpower. Because of the Koch's $103 billion net worth, the voices of 40.2% of American households are muffled, if not muted. The voices of people who may be unable to afford adequate healthcare; may be unable to put food on their dinner table; and may be in need of those government programs to survive... government programs that the Kochs would love to see disappear.

The American free market is a beautiful thing, and people who are able to ethically take full advantage of it (generally speaking) deserve their reward. The Kochs have been able to do just that, and deserve admiration for their efforts. What they do not deserve accolades for is their poisoning of American democracy... a poisoning that only stands to hurt millions of American families.

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