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writing for godot

Surprise! Megalomaniacal Multibillionaire is Against Increased Infrastructure Spending

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Written by Carl Peterson   
Thursday, 02 May 2019 15:56

Surprise! Megalomaniacal Multibillionaire Is Against Increased American Infrastructure Spending

 

It should not be a surprise to anyone who keeps half an eye on Charles Koch. This category unfortunately leaves out employees of the corporate media (including all major television network news programs plus the New York Times and Washington Post)  Koch is against the idea now being very belatedly discussed by some of our elected representatives that America should begin repairing and upgrading its infrastructure, at least to late 20th century standards.

It should not be a surprise.  Why, Koch wouldn't even take care of his own industrial infrastructure if calculations showed that he could make greater profits if he did not take care of it, even when, let us say, the issue in question was a deteriorating pipeline owned by the Koch Pipeline Company and that transported butane through areas inhabited by human beings.  And Koch's company would continue to make larger profits off this leaking, deteriorating butane pipeline, even though Koch's company was well aware of the pipeline's dangerous condition.  And make larger profits right up to the moment in 1996 the ignition of a pick-up truck sparked the leaked and heavily concentrated butane, producing a massive fireball that incinerated two young people in a pick-up about 50 miles from Dallas, Texas.  A jury found Koch Industries guilty of negligence and malice because it had known how dangerous the pipeline was and did nothing to repair it or even to advise people living near the pipeline of the hazards the leaky pipeline posed to them.  Koch Industries never admitted guilt, but after the jury imposed a penalty of $296 million, settled out of court for an undisclosed sum with the father of one of the teenagers killed in the fireball.  [from Jane Mayer's Dark Money, the Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right, 2016]

So, the question here is where does this Koch person get off throwing his 2 cents (Just kidding!  It's really much, much more than 2 cents!) into the American conversation about our deteriorated infrastructure? Since Koch does not seem to take human life into account when making business decisions, how can he be qualified to be a prominent part of our national conversation about infrastructure spending?  If history is any guide, Koch would counsel infrastructure repairs only after someone has been killed--or, for example, replacing a bridge only after it has collapsed--and, probably, not even then if not legally compelled to do so.  Save at lot of money on infrastructure that way!  And about being compelled by law to look out for harm your economic activities do to other human beings?  Koch is against that too.

But what do Koch's representatives now present as a rationale for not spending much on national infrastructure?  In a predictable expression of their boring, stale, idiotic, morally hollow ideology--the same ideology that garnered the Libertarian Party 1% of the vote in the 1980 presidential election--Koch's people now, in 2019, are saying: We should not be contemplating spending a lot of money on infrastructure because politicians will want to raise taxes to pay for it.  Instead politicians must cut regulations to stimulate the economy, and must cut wasteful spending to pay for infrastructure if they are really sincere about the need to repair American infrastructure.

So.  If congressional Democrats and the president say they are for substantially increased infrastructure spending, but Koch says he is against it unless his conditions are met, what are the prospects for our American infrastructure? *

*Note: Politico recently published an article that listed 7 possible reasons why a major infrastructure spending bill will not pass.  None of the 7 listed reasons were that the Koch Network is against it.  That seems to be an odd omission.

 

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