February 19, 2016

EVEN A BROKEN CLOCK IS RIGHT TWICE A DAY: Charles Koch has an oped in the Washington Post, “This is the One Issue Where Bernie Sanders is Right.

As he campaigns for the Democratic nomination for president, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) often sounds like he’s running as much against me as he is the other candidates. I have never met the senator, but I know from listening to him that we disagree on plenty when it comes to public policy. . . .

Democrats and Republicans have too often favored policies and regulations that pick winners and losers. This helps perpetuate a cycle of control, dependency, cronyism and poverty in the United States. These are complicated issues, but it’s not enough to say that government alone is to blame. Large portions of the business community have actively pushed for these policies. . . . 

Whenever we allow government to pick winners and losers, we impede progress and move further away from a society of mutual benefit. This pits individuals and groups against each other and corrupts the business community, which inevitably becomes less focused on creating value for customers. That’s why Koch Industries opposes all forms of corporate welfare — even those that benefit us. (The government’s ethanol mandate is a good example. We oppose that mandate, even though we are the fifth-largest ethanol producer in the United States.)

It may surprise the senator to learn that our framework in deciding whether to support or oppose a policy is not determined by its effect on our bottom line (or by which party sponsors the legislation), but by whether it will make people’s lives better or worse. . . .

Our criminal justice system, which is in dire need of reform, is another issue where the senator shares some of my concerns. Families and entire communities are being ripped apart by laws that unjustly destroy the lives of low-level and nonviolent offenders.

Today, if you’re poor and get caught possessing and selling pot, you could end up in jail. Your conviction will hold you back from many opportunities in life. However, if you are well-connected and have ample financial resources, the rules change dramatically. Where is the justice in that? . . .

At this point you may be asking yourself, “Is Charles Koch feeling the Bern?”

Hardly.

I applaud the senator for giving a voice to many Americans struggling to get ahead in a system too often stacked in favor of the haves, but I disagree with his desire to expand the federal government’s control over people’s lives. This is what built so many barriers to opportunity in the first place. . . .

I don’t expect to agree with every position a candidate holds, but all Americans deserve a president who, on balance, can demonstrate a commitment to a set of ideas and values that will lead to peace, civility and well-being rather than conflict, contempt and division. When such a candidate emerges, he or she will have my enthusiastic support.

I’ve always thought it was strange for Democrats to spend so much energy demonizing the Kochs who are, after all, libertarians who agree with the left on many social issues. Most of their non-profit spending goes to educational efforts aimed at enhancing individual liberty (which explains why they are the functional equivalent of Lucifer to liberals/progressives/totalitarians).

I guess the left needs to have its base hate someone specific who is really rich–their anti-Soros, if you will. Most of the other mega-wealthy Americans either try to stay out of the political spotlight, or they become supplicants to the political left (e.g., Bill Gates or Warren Buffett) in their attempt to ward off its ire. Just ask Chick-Fil-A, Hobby Lobby, Cracker Barrel, Whole Foods, Exxon, and many other businesses that have been the subject of negative publicity and boycotts (largely unsuccessful) after they dared to defy the political left. 

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