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Charles Koch Praises Bernie Sanders

While the (in)famous billionaire Charles Koch praises Bernie Sanders, he doesn’t favor him like a lot of others in “the billionaire class.”

Charles Koch writes in the Washington Post:

The senator is upset with a political and economic system that is often rigged to help the privileged few at the expense of everyone else, particularly the least advantaged. He believes that we have a two-tiered society that increasingly dooms millions of our fellow citizens to lives of poverty and hopelessness. He thinks many corporations seek and benefit from corporate welfare while ordinary citizens are denied opportunities and a level playing field.

I agree with him.

People will insist that the billionaire must be lying because Bernie Sanders has assured us all that the billionaire class is the reason for all that is wrong in America.

But the fact is that a lot of billionaires agree with Bernie Sanders a lot more than Koch. Charles Lane wrote in the Washington Post last month that lots of billionaires are progressives. Warren Buffet was a staunch supporter of Barack Obama, George Soros is a notorious leftist, and Michael Bloomberg supports plenty of leftwing causes and organizations.

And why should we be surprised? No matter how billionaires amassed their fortunes, they all face one problem: How do they keep growing their fortunes in a changing world? Billionaires like to present themselves as innovators but, even if an innovation is behind their wealth, there is no guarantee they can come up with another.

But they can influence government policy. Instead of finding something of value that the members of the middle class will pay them for (remember, even Bernie Sanders knows that the middle class has most of the money, though he talks like they don’t), they find ways that the government can regulate the economy. For example, Warren Buffet made big money off of Barack Obama’s monetary policy. In turn, these billionaires often support forms of welfare for the lower and middle class to keep them happy.

What makes Charles Koch’s editorial stand out is that he is not trying to bribe anyone with government money or his own. He is recommending freedom as the solution to the problem:

Democrats and Republicans have too often favored policies and regulations that pick winners and losers. This helps perpetuate a cycle of control, dependency, cronyism and poverty in the United States. These are complicated issues, but it’s not enough to say that government alone is to blame. Large portions of the business community have actively pushed for these policies.

Perhaps the Koch brothers are not consistent. But at least the message for liberty, economic freedom, and equality before the law got promoted. Though it is easy to get upset that Charles Koch praises Bernie Sanders, because one naturally assumes that no one should ever praise Sanders, in this case it was a smart move.

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Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder is the "nom de plume" (or "nom de guerre") of a fifty-ish-year-old writer and stroke survivor. He lives in St Louis with his wife and still-at-home children. He has been a freelance writer and occasional political activist since the early nineties. He describes his politics as Tolkienesque.

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