Koch Dreams

Koch Dreams

by digby

Lot's of news from Wisconsin, which you are probably already aware of. If not, you should check out Dday and TPM. They are doing blanket coverage of events out there. The stand-off continues.

But I have to say that this amazing op-ed from David Koch in the WSJ, defending Scott Walker's actions, is so perfectly representative of the Randian cult of self-love and class warfare that it's almost a parody. (As dday tweeted, "is this Ian Murphy again?") it's well worth reading for its standard right wing petulant tone alone, but this is what really stuck out:

The Congressional Budget Office has warned that the interest on our federal debt is "poised to skyrocket." Even Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is sounding alarms. Yet the White House insists that substantial spending cuts would hurt the economy and increase unemployment.

Plenty of compelling examples indicate just the opposite. When Canada recently reduced its federal spending to 11.3% of GDP from 17.5% eight years earlier, the economy rebounded and unemployment dropped. By comparison, our federal spending is 25% of GDP.

Well that's one way of looking at it. Here's another:

[T]he long-term budget problem is entirely the result of our broken private health care system. If our per person health care costs were the same as what people paid in Canada, Germany or any other wealthy country, we would be looking at enormous budget surpluses (in the "trillions"), not deficits. Of course, this would mean going after the drug companies, the insurance industry, the doctors' lobbies and other health industry groups. Unfortunately, both the politicians and budget reporters are scared to cross these powerful interest groups.

That's especially interesting in light of Koch's further insistence that he's trying to end crony capitalism in order to create "free markets" which are much more efficient. And it's true that a "free market" in health care would undoubtedly find someone to cover the sickest people in the country --- including the elderly. It's just that it will cost them 10k a month. Or they will die. After all, sick and old people are very "inefficient" and add nothing to the economy:

Crony capitalism is much easier than competing in an open market. But it erodes our overall standard of living and stifles entrepreneurs by rewarding the politically favored rather than those who provide what consumers want.

The purpose of business is to efficiently convert resources into products and services that make people's lives better. Businesses that fail to do so should be allowed to go bankrupt rather than be bailed out.

But what about jobs that are lost when businesses go under? It's important to remember that not all jobs are the same. In business, real jobs profitably produce goods and services that people value more highly than their alternatives. Subsidizing inefficient jobs is costly, wastes resources, and weakens our economy.

That's pretty much all he has to say about jobs, although he does go on to say that a lack of "economic freedom" is harmful to the poor, which proves that he is a wonderful guy despite the fact that he thinks of workers as production units instead of human beings:

Our elected officials would do well to remember that the most prosperous countries are those that allow consumers—not governments—to direct the use of resources. Allowing the government to pick winners and losers hurts almost everyone, especially our poorest citizens.

Recent studies show that the poorest 10% of the population living in countries with the greatest economic freedom have 10 times the per capita income of the poorest citizens in countries with the least economic freedom. In other words, society as a whole benefits from greater economic freedom.

Even though it affects our business, as a matter of principle our company has been outspoken in defense of economic freedom. This country would be much better off if every company would do the same. Instead, we see far too many businesses that paint their tails white and run with the antelope.

By his own admission he isn't "principled" enough to not accept subsidies, however. They have to in order to "compete." And I'd be very interested to know what countries land on the list of "economically free" because if we follow this fellow we'll be living in a full blown banana republic where "freedom" is defined as the freedom of the upper classes to fully exploit the desperate masses.

These oligarchs are ideologues, to be sure. But make no mistake, their ideology is not driven by their civic duty or the common good. It is driven by their desire to accumulate as much wealth as possible for themselves and their heirs. Their "principles" all flow from that.

Here's what he is trying to solidify and preserve: