Charles and David Koch built an distortion machine to do their dirty work for them. Through think tanks, academic research, political donations and conservative media, the Koch brothers have steamrolled Americans into believing things that are false and into supporting policies that benefit the Koch brothers’ profits.
Social Security has long been among the brothers’ favorite punching bags, but new reporting by the Nation shows Charles Koch praising, advocating–practically begging an ultra-free market economist and mentor to participate and enjoy Social Security benefits.
That Charles Koch would promote and grow Social Security is at odds with his efforts and donations to politicians and think tanks to destroy Social Security, as our Koch Brothers Exposed campaign has proven.
Among the Koch ‘experts’ featured in the video is Jose Pinera. Many experts exposed by our film were working to dismantle Social Security from inside the Bush administration before being Koch-funded, but Pinera was working under the Kochs for many years. The Nation reports Pinera was a key player in the Koch-funded plan to dismantle Social Security and adds that Pinera’s knowledge about public health systems stemmed from his time implementing Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet’s privatization plans, which had the effect of robbing poor and middle class families.
In one letter cited by the Nation, Charles Koch’s colleagues at another think tank, the Institute for Humane Studies, detail a loophole whereby the Austrian-born and ultra-laissez faire economist Friedrich Hayek could opt into Social Security. Soon after that letter was shipped off, Koch wrote a personal appeal extolling the benefits of Social Security to Hayek. He brought up Medicare too. Koch said the program would cover Hayek’s medical needs even further.
He sends Hayek a Social Security brochure along with the note: “You may be interested in the information that we uncovered on the insurance and other benefits that would be available to you in this country… you are entitled to Social Security payments while living anywhere in the Free World.”
The Koch brothers have donated $28.4 million to think thanks that aim to destroy a social safety net for middle class Americans, and Hayek pioneered that ideology in many ways. Through the Tea Party and Americans for Prosperity, the Koch brothers have found a new audience for Hayek’s philosophy.
Not only could an Austrian-born crusader against social safety nets draw entitlements from American taxpayers, but according to Koch, Hayek could do so while residing (and paying taxes) in the U.S. or any nation on Earth. This is a dramatic leap of faith from Koch orthodoxy, where government and public service are problems that hamper the Koch brothers’ $100 billion business.
As the Nation rightfully points out, when Texas Governor Rick Perry says Social Security is a “Ponzi scheme,” that sentiment stems directly from the Kochs, who through their wealth have given Hayek a resurgence of popularity through the brothers’ echo chamber and billion dollar distortion machine.
The Nation wonders why Charles Koch didn’t offer some of his own money to treat Hayek’s health issues. The reason is because the Koch brothers are selfish. Indeed the Koch brothers, and how they spend their wealth, is transforming selfishness into an American virtue.