Is there Koch in that headline?
“Surprise! The 1% Are Paying Their Fair Share”
~ from Barrons – April 7, 2012
Okay, so a person reads the headline above and thinks “wow, somebody figured out that the 1% really aren’t under taxed!”. But what lies behind that headline? You can read about it here. It gives you plenty of data and different definitions of what a millionaire truly is based on their adjusted net incomes over a period of years. Okay…all of that is fine and good. So the next question that one should ask is where does the data come from?
First we have the Tax Foundation. The Tax Foundation is another ‘think tank’. They are critical of raising taxes and, in particular, business taxes. They are also against reducing tax credits for the oil industry. So where might the funding for the Tax Foundation come from? How about ExxonMobil as one and the Koch family as another. Okay on to another source of data. Let’s try the Cato Institute. Who are they? From their website:
The Cato Institute is a public policy research organization — a think tank — dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets and peace. Its scholars and analysts conduct independent, nonpartisan research on a wide range of policy issues.
The Cato Institute is a Libertarian think tank that was founded by…guess who? Charles Koch. Okay, so we know the Koch family is ultra conservative politically. They fund ‘think tanks’ who help provide data for articles like the one headlined above. I am not saying that all of these think tanks are bad and I am not saying the Tax Foundation or Cato Institute is bad. I am sure they do a lot of research that falls outside of partisanship. However, everybody knows where the money comes from. Do you think they are going to stray far from what Mr. Koch wants? I think not. As with a lot of media, you have to scrutinize carefully.
Okay, so what is my beef with the Koch family. Well, I guess that I am ideologically opposed to their own beliefs. A couple of examples – first let’s look at Wisconsin. Wisconsin is having a recall election on June 5 of this year. More than 800,000 voters signed the petition in hope of recalling Scott Walker. Walker is very anti-union and essentially stripped collective bargaining rights from the state workers. This has been a very heated issue in Wisconsin and yes, the Koch brothers are right in the middle of it all. For further information about it, read this article from the New York Times. It talks about the role of Americans for Prosperity in their counter-protest against the unions. AFP is also heavily funded by the Koch family. Hopefully, the citizens of Wisconsin will kick Walker out of office in June.
The Koch family is very willing to spread their money out internationally as well. In this article from the Vancouver Observer, it is noted that they fund the Fraser Institute (yes, another think tank!). The Fraser Institute has been funded heavily by the Koch brothers and, again, ExxonMobil. So, why are the Koch brother interested in a Canadian think tank? How about the oil sands in Alberta and the very controversial Keystone Pipeline?
The Koch family is the main economic engine behind the Tea Party Movement and they strongly endorse big business, and with that, the 1%. In fact, you could probably look up “1%” in the dictionary and you would see their faces. Going back to the headline at the top…flashy headlines don’t always tell the whole story. Make sure you know where the data comes from.