Koch broth­ers don’t de­serve to be vil­i­fied

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - EDITORIAL PAGE -

Fran Alexan­der’s re­cent piece about the Koch broth­ers, David and Charles, was an­other ex­am­ple of those seem­ingly ig­no­rant of the truth when they de­mo­nize that fam­ily, the vast busi­ness or­ga­ni­za­tion they’ve built and their gen­eros­ity, which ben­e­fits un­told num­bers of peo­ple.

Leftist me­dia take ev­ery op­por­tu­nity to cast the Kochs as surely one of the most dire threats to Amer­ica, but never men­tion the egre­gious Ge­orge Soros, who made his bil­lions play­ing the stock mar­ket, and sup­ports all sorts of groups and ac­tiv­i­ties that only serve to en­gen­der civil dis­obe­di­ence and vi­o­lence.

Fred Koch, the broth­ers’ father, was a chem­i­cal en­gi­neer who founded Koch In­dus­tries and a phi­lan­thropist who do­nated his time and many mil­lions sup­port­ing uni­ver­si­ties, mu­se­ums and var­i­ous ac­tiv­i­ties for the ben­e­fit of oth­ers.

As to the broth­ers, Fran Alexan­der be­gins with the non­sen­si­cal charge that wealthy peo­ple use their money to gain con­trol of the gov­ern­ment — her ex­am­ple is all the gov­er­nor­ships, leg­is­la­tures and red states now hold­ing sway in this coun­try. Surely, it couldn’t be what hap­pened to this coun­try over the past eight years, and an op­po­si­tion party that out­stand­ing lead­ers such as FDR and JFK would no longer rec­og­nize.

Of course, th­ese days bil­lion­aires are a fa­vorite whip­ping dog — even though most of them prob­a­bly got that way by hard work, mak­ing wise choices and know­ing how to get things done. For­tu­nately, we have sev­eral of those run­ning our gov­ern­ment, along with all those gen­er­als.

Pri­vately owned Koch in­dus­tries is an ex­ten­sive, highly di­ver­si­fied group of en­ter­prises that em­ploys more than 100,000 peo­ple op­er­at­ing in al­most ev­ery state, in­clud­ing Arkansas. Re­cent tele­vi­sion com­mer­cials would in­di­cate those em­ploy­ees are well com­pen­sated and proud of their com­pany.

In the past, there were prob­lems with pol­lu­tion; how­ever, in 2016 Koch Bros. was rated No. 1 for pol­lu­tion preven­tion by the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency. The for­mer head of Ge­or­gia Pa­cific, who was kept on when that com­pany was pur­chased by Koch, has voiced his sur­prise at the changes in man­age­ment, such as rein­vest­ment of profits and quick ap­proval of sug­ges­tions that could even­tu­ally ben­e­fit op­er­a­tions.

An­other charge is that th­ese de­vi­ous broth­ers “use the tax laws for philanthropy, do­nat­ing to col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties” to help mold fu­ture lead­ers af­ter their view. How­ever, con­sid­er­ing the sad, anti-Amer­i­can at­mos­phere that now per­me­ates our schools of higher learn­ing, the re­sult would more likely re­sem­ble Fran Alexan­der’s ide­ol­ogy.

In­sight into said ide­ol­ogy could be her crit­i­cism of two highly re­spected “think tanks,” the Cato In­sti­tute and the Her­itage Foun­da­tion — which surely must be sub­ver­sive, be­cause they were “founded and/or funded by wealthy busi­ness ty­coons” — and also ALEC, which sup­ports politi­cians who are “ded­i­cated to the prin­ci­ples of lim­ited gov­ern­ment, free mar­kets and fed­er­al­ism.”

Isn’t that what our Found­ing Fathers were ded­i­cated to? BAR­BARA FORE­MAN Siloam Springs

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