March 5, 2011- The New York Times has a front page story today on the charitable activities of the notorious Koch Bros. The Times article states brother David has given hundreds of millions of dollars to cancer research over the years, including $100 million to new a cancer research center at MIT that bears his name.
The brothers are best known recently for giving financial support to the campaign of union busting Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, as well as for being a major financial force in creating and developing the so-called "Tea Party Movement," whose goal it is to reduce taxes on very rich people like the Koch brothers.
While the search for new cancer treatments is a laudable way to spend extra money, the article notes that one Koch company, Georgia-Pacific, "which produces formaldehyde, has been trying to convince the government not to list formaldehyde as a human carcinogen."
Over several years, Koch has given $200 million to cancer research, a nice chunk of change, but a small drop in the bucket compared with the largess of ordinary American taxpayers who fund cancer research to the tune of $5 BILLION ANNUALLY!
But the ability of Americans to fund the research is threatened by the Koch Brothers themselves. In his speech at MIT to open the new cancer research center, Koch stated, "The National Institutes of Health, and the National Cancer Institute in particular, are facing serious cutbacks in their funding due to the massive deficits the federal government is incurring," and that "If the cutbacks happen, it will significantly diminish the level of research that can be carried on at the Koch Institute."
Ironic that the government may have to cut back on vital cancer research funding because supply-side billionaires like the Koch Brothers have spent billions to influence congress to legislate the very policies - deregulation and rich men's tax cuts - that are bankrupting the treasury.
Given the level of research funds granted through the generosity of the American people who are the world's foremost source of funds for cancer research, and not to in any way diminish the generosity of private charitable donors, wouldn't a more appropriate name for a new cancer research center be "The American Taxpayer's Cancer Research Institute?"