They head the largest private oil company in the United States, rake in billions of dollars in profit, and pour millions into political campaigns and lobbying efforts.
They are the Koch brothers, Charles and David, and they absolutely hate “crony capitalism” – except, of course, when it benefits them.
For years, the brothers, who run Koch Industries, have poured their monetary support behind conservative politicians – nearly all of whom have taken firm stances against welfare or safety-net programs. According to David Koch, their political involvement aims only to “minimize the role of government, to maximize the role of private economy and to maximize personal freedoms,” which would explain their supposed backing of libertarian candidates and causes.
Libertarian, however, is just the term used by the billionaire brothers to disguise their corporatist and Tea Party views. As ultra-conservatives, the Kochs have focused their efforts on advancing the careers of far-right lawmakers who vigorously oppose government programs they deem intrusive and socialist.
Ironically, though, Charles and David Koch’s ongoing crusade against government policies that often benefit the nation’s middle and lower classes has not stopped them from discreetly taking advantage of big-government programs and taxpayer money themselves.
Read on to learn how Koch Industries has spent years benefiting from government programs and taxpayer money.
In the midst of campaigning against the Affordable Care Act, the Koch brothers still managed to reap benefits from the new health care law.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has accused Koch Industries of having received subsidies under the Affordable Care Act’s temporary Early Retiree Reinsurance Program — a charge that the Associated Press confirmed on Wednesday. Federal records reveal that Koch Industries received $1.4 million in early retiree subsidies, which are meant to compensate employers who have to provide insurance for employees who retire before becoming eligible for Medicare.
Screenshot via Generation Opportunity’s YouTube channel
Though the Koch brothers are outspoken critics of welfare programs that tend to help the poor and disabled, they have aggressively lobbied for taxpayer handouts for Koch Industries refineries — the primary form of corporate welfare.
Additionally, according to a ThinkProgress report, a failing Koch Industries oil refinery based in Fairbanks, Alaska once asked then-governor Sarah Palin’s administration for the type of taxpayer-funded bailout that libertarians routinely decry.
Photo: Screenshot via Al-Jazeera
Despite advocating for a laissez-faire economic system, the Koch brothers obtained massive government contracts that allowed Koch Industries to buy millions of barrels of crude oil from the Middle East – specifically from Iraq, during the U.S. occupation.
Koch Industries has also benefited from billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies in the form of federal government contracts and awards – billions of dollars Koch Industries never declined to accept.
Screenshot via YouTube
New Deal Socialism
The Kochs have also benefited from an existing provision of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal program, which conservatives over the years have condemned as socialist.
According to ThinkProgress, a Koch Industries subsidiary and cattle ranching company, Matador Cattle Company, actually uses one of the New Deal’s existing provisions — the Land Utilization Program — to “profit off of federal land for free.”