Talk is Cheap

When I was growing up, one of my father’s favorite axioms was “If you are going to talk the talk, you’d better walk the walk.”

Which brings me to some recent reports about the extent to which the Koch brothers–who define liberty as the absence of “dependency” on government–benefit from government’s largesse.

It isn’t only the infamous Kochs, of course, and it is a feature of our current political discourse that drives me up the wall.

Wealthy businesspeople and corporate pooh-bahs are entitled to their political ideologies, but they are not entitled to the embarrassing lack of self-awareness that allows them to lecture poor people about the evils of dependency while they themselves are feeding greedily at the public trough.

Charles Koch is an excellent example, although certainly not the only one. He was recently quoted as saying that “prosperity grows where economic freedom is greatest, where government intervention in business affairs is kept to a minimum.” Yet the Kochs “dependency” on government is extensive:about $85 million in federal government contracts mostly from the Department of Defense, not to mention that Koch Industries benefits directly from billions in taxpayer subsidies for oil companies and ethanol production. Koch industries lobbied extensively against the Affordable Care Act, and is even now running an inaccurate ad campaign against it, that hasn’t kept them from applying for business subsidies that the Act provides.

The list goes on. And on. 

The truth is that most –not all, but most–of the privileged and self-satisfied “job creators” who preach self-reliance are perfectly willing to benefit at the public’s expense. I guess its only “welfare” when it goes to the other guy.