Crooks & Liars: Where I Respond to Charles Koch’s Editorial

March 7, 2011- So it seems Charles Koch wrote an editorial while I was away. An editorial for the Rupert Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal, where he spends an entire column saying a whole lot of nothing. An editorial where he misstates facts, figures, and twists up truth into his weird alternate reality.

I feel compelled to respond to him.

Dear Charles Koch,

In your March 1st editorial, you make the following statements:

Years of tremendous overspending by federal, state and local governments have brought us face-to-face with an economic crisis. Federal spending will total at least $3.8 trillion this year—double what it was 10 years ago. And unlike in 2001, when there was a small federal surplus, this year's projected budget deficit is more than $1.6 trillion.

This is a direct consequence of the costs of two wars which until 2008, were not added to the balance sheets. Funny how you fail to account for where the deficits arose, but are quick to point to their existence.

Several trillions more in debt have been accumulated by state and local governments. States are looking at a combined total of more than $130 billion in budget shortfalls this year. Next year, they will be in even worse shape as most so-called stimulus payments end.

Ironic that you would give any credit to the stimulus for helping states, given the enormous funds you've laid out to criticize any lawmaker who supported it. What hypocrisy is this? State and local governments are looking at shortfalls because tax revenues have not kept pace with expenditures. This is not the fault of individuals living in those states or municipalities. It is the direct effect of the failure of corporations to pay their fair share to do business in states, and the failure of those same corporations to employ workers in those states, causing those workers to rely upon governmental safety nets to get them by while their jobs are outsourced to countries where corporate profits can increase.

For many years, I, my family and our company have contributed to a variety of intellectual and political causes working to solve these problems. Because of our activism, we've been vilified by various groups. Despite this criticism, we're determined to keep contributing and standing up for those politicians, like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who are taking these challenges seriously.

Let's talk about your "activism", because it goes far beyond just political philosophy. You fund groups who actively seek to promote lies about the current President's place of birth, his legitimacy as a United States citizen, and undermine the mandate he received from voters in 2008. That's not "standing up" for anything.

Spending tens of millions — even hundreds of millions — to oppose climate change legislation isn't "activism". It's serving your own financial self-interests. That's not surprising, nor is it illegal, but it's certainly not as noble and high minded as "solving these problems."

Here are some problems your tens or hundreds of millions could be solving:

•Preventing medical bankruptcy, which is still on the rise and will not end until all Americans have access to reasonably-priced health insurance BEFORE they get sick or fired.
•Preventing the consequences of climate change instead of denying it exists.
•Investing creatively in our future through green industry, high speed rail, and other projects which build up this country instead of tearing it down.
Instead, you deny climate change, pay millions to lobby for the defeat of climate change legislation, buy politicians who must do your bidding and vote to de-fund the Affordable Care Act (and any other good and decent thing government does).

You call this 'activism'. I call it destruction.


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