The old definition of chutzpah was to murder your parents and then beg the court for mercy because of being an orphan.
The new definition of chutzpah should be for Charles Koch to justify his actions based upon opposing crony capitalism.
Charles Koch has probably done more than anyone else to try to destroy capitalism and democracy and replace it with plutocracy, along with making his fortune off of practicing crony capitalism. He shows tremendous chutzpah in writing an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal pretending to justify his career trying to subvert American capitalism by claiming he is doing so to fight crony capitalism. Well, I guess that isn’t any more chutzpah than the Republican Party claiming to support capitalism, small government, and freedom when they actively oppose all three. I might include the Tea Party supporters claiming to represent the views of the Founding Fathers, but in this case I think it is more often ignorance than chutzpah as they actually believe the misinformation they pick up from the right wing noise machine (which receives much of its funding from Koch).
Think Progress has posted just Part I of their demonstration of how Koch is the biggest crony capitalist of them all. Here is a portion:
– The dirty secret of Koch Industries is its birth under the centrally-planned Soviet Union. Fred Koch, the founder of the company and father of David and Charles, helped construct fifteen oil refineries for Joseph Stalin before expanding the business in the United States.
– As Yasha Levine has reported, Koch exploits a number of government programs for profit. For instance, Georgia Pacific, a timber company subsidiary of Koch Industries, uses taxpayer money provided by the U.S. Forestry Service to provide their loggers with taxpayer-funded roads and access to virgin growth forests. “Logging companies such as Georgia-Pacific strip lands bare, destroy vast acreages and pay only a small fee to the federal government in proportion to what they take from the public,” according to the Institute for Public Accuracy. Levine also notes that Koch’s cattle ranching company, Matador Cattle Company, uses a New Deal program to profit off federal land for free.
– Koch Industries won massive government contracts using their close relationship with the Bush administration. The Bush administration, in a deal even conservatives alleged was a quid pro quo because of Koch’s campaign donations, handed Koch Industries a lucrative contract to supply the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve with 8 million barrels of crude oil. The SPR deal, done initially in 2002, was renewed in 2004 by Bush administration officials. During the occupation of Iraq, Koch won significant contracts to buy Iraqi crude oil.
– Although Koch campaigned vigorously against health reform — running attack ads, sponsoring anti-health reform Tea Parties, and comparing health reform to the Holocaust — Koch Industries applied for health reform subsidies made possible by the Obama administration.
– The Koch brothers have claimed that they oppose government intervention in the market, but Koch Industries lobbies aggressively for taxpayer handouts. In Alaska, blogger Andrew Halcro reported that a Koch subsidiary in Fairbanks asked Gov. Sarah Palin’s administration to use taxpayer money to bail out one of their failing refinery.
– SolveClimate recently reported that Koch Industries will reap huge profits from the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline, which runs from Koch-owned tar sands mining centers in Canada to Koch-owned refineries in Texas. To build the pipeline, politicians throughout the Midwest, many of whom have received large Koch campaign donations, have used eminant domain — government seizures of private land. In Kansas, where Koch-funded officials advise Gov. Sam Brownback (R-KS) and the Republican legislature, the Keystone XL Pipeline is likely to receive a property tax exemption of ten years, a special loophole that will cost Kansas taxpayers about $50 million.
– Koch Industries has been the recipient of about $85 million in federal government contracts mostly from the Department of Defense. Koch also benefits directly from billions in taxpayer subsidies for oil companies and ethanol production.
Koch is also able to make his fortunes by pumping pollutants into the air and acting as if the environment is his own personal property, using his political clout to oppose any efforts which would force him to pay for his actions:
The American public want clean air, safe water, and a healthy planet. If Charles Koch actually believed in the “open market” and raising our “standard of living,” he would allow our democratically elected government to take action to protect Americans from global warming pollution.
The virulence of the Koch brothers’ opposition to climate policy — to anything that would make polluters instead of society pay for the cost of their pollution — is purely a matter of self-interest. The immense profitability of their carbon holdings depends on their freedom to pollute without consequence.
If their pollution was fairly priced in a free-market system such as the cap-and-trade markets the Koch successfully demonized in Washington, the Kochs would be facing costs of anywhere from $1 billion to $40 billion a year. Spending well less than $1 billion a year on their political and philanthropic activities, the Kochs have made a brilliant investment to defend their killer business model.