For more than two weeks, we’ve seen the unions organize massive protests in Madison, Wisconsin, while their friends in the media demonize Koch Industries and its owners, Charles and David Koch. My friends John Hinderaker and Scott Johnson have done a marvelous job at Power Line deconstructing the fever-swamp allegations against the Koch brothers, as well as the inherent hypocrisy of organizations like Think Progress hyperventilating about big-money activists in politics. (George Soros is one of the big donors to the Center for American Progress, which runs Think Progress.) Just try to hit near the top of Power Line and keep reading; the pair have done yeomans’ work over the last two weeks on this subject, which we’ve headlined during that period.
But it’s probably no surprise to see John and Scott defend Koch Industries and the Koch brothers, since they share (as I do) their political philosophies. It is interesting to see who else endorses Koch Industries by putting their money where their mouths clearly are not:
According to the State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB), the Wisconsin Retirement System owns $5.5 million in Georgia Pacific corporate bonds. (Georgia Pacific is owned by Koch Industries.) This is the retirement system in which the overwhelming majority of state and local employees participate. These are the pension benefits that public employees are trying so hard to protect. …
Granted, $5.5 million out of a $18.5 billion fixed-income bond fund isn’t a whole lot. (The state also holds about $5 million worth of Colgate bonds, meaning it is in the pocket of Big Toothpaste.) But one imagines the public unions’ vitriol will soften a little bit when they realize their retirement payout is incumbent on the success of the Kochs. They’re all part of the same money-making ecosystem, despite many state employees believing all their retirement funds are invested exclusively in dreams and rainbows.
So in the end, public unions should recognize that the real Koch will do them a lot more good than the fake one ever did.
As John wrote, the unions and their political allies have spent much of the last couple of weeks attacking Koch, and specifically Georgia Pacific, as horrid stewards of Gaia as part of the Massive Industrialization Complex. They’re trying to use economic pressure to get the Koch brothers to retreat from politics, which is at the very least hardball, if not unsporting. But the people that economic pressure will harm includes the very teachers on the picket lines in Wisconsin, because if the share prices in GP go down, then so does their pension funding, at least in some small measure.