Letters to the editor on Kochs, China trip
10/17/2012 12:00 AM
10/16/2012 6:13 PM
Where were Kochs during Bush years?
Let me get this straight. The Koch brothers have decided they have to “save America” (Oct. 14 Eagle).
Where were they during the eight years of the Bush administration, when a surplus of government funds from the Clinton administration was turned into a tax cut for billionaires who didn’t need it? When two wars were started and not paid for? When a prescription-drug benefit was added to Medicare and not paid for? When, through deregulation, the banks and Wall Street were allowed to run wild until they sent the whole economy over a cliff? Without billions of dollars in bailout money from the American people, who knows where we would be right now.
How come the Kochs waited until Barack Obama was elected and inaugurated?
Hallelujah – the heavens have opened, the tablets finally arrived, and the true meaning of life has been revealed. The path to salvation lies so plainly in eliminating government – especially government regulation of very large corporations. And since I have more money, my opinion counts more than yours – the gospel of the gilded god.
A plain fact: Without the checks and balances enforced by the law and government, companies would take from one another and the public by force or guile. Without agreeing among ourselves as to how to live together without killing one another, only the strongest survives – and even then in constant fear. We need the checks and balances of government.
And a fundamental truth: There is not just one answer. Our country is built upon diversity and embracing different points of view. We should encourage (and finance) the exchange of ideas, not the suppression of ideas we don’t like. The best idea should prevail, not the most advertising.
I have a different idea: Too much financial power in one place potentially corrupts the marketplace, oppresses workers and takes advantage of our natural resources.
I don’t trust that Charles Koch alone has all the answers and will make all the right decisions about our country, no matter how much he spends.
When I drive past the Koch Industries headquarters on any given day, I don’t look over and think: Oh, those Koch boys are a couple of elites who think of no one but themselves.
No, when I pass by I’m thinking they have taken the business their father started and built something even better that not only benefits themselves but this community and state.
What people like me, a Democrat and a member of the working class, are thinking is not that rich folks are somehow awful. They aren’t. What we are thinking is: Why do the Kochs want Republicans back in the White House when even with President Obama there they have been raking in record profits?
Record profits in the case of manufacturing, at least, are not “trickling down” into a living wage for workers. And the Kochs wonder why we vote for Obama? At least he’s willing to throw us a life preserver, not vilify us because some of us need food stamps to make ends meet.
So go ahead, Koch brothers, make your money, pay your people well, like you say you do. We’re all for it. Just tell the guys you hobnob with to do the same.
Monday’s Eagle contained three articles that demanded my attention.
First was the very detailed study of the Koch brothers, very wealthy men who use their money to impress their extreme priorities on political candidates and the public, suppressing opposition that has no comparable resources. This is their right of free speech. They are opposed in their effort by dissenters – some of whom use threats of violence, which is not their right. But the end on both sides does not justify the means, in my view.
Second, columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. had a striking description of fundamentalism, concluding: “How real can faith be if it is not a thing freely held, if it is something required, coerced, enforced?”
Finally was the obituary for Sen. Arlen Specter, who was vilified by his own Republican Party for the sin of working with the opposition. Specter once said: “In some quarters, compromise has become a dirty word. Ideological purity has become a precondition for support.”
My conclusion: Thank God for the First Amendment; we must always defend it.
ALFRED JAMES III
Why to China?
I don’t understand why the mayor of Wichita went to China and is spending city money when the city has budget problems and the people of Wichita are worried about how we are going to pay for fluoride in the water (Oct. 11 Eagle).
Why does the mayor need 12 days in China when people from the business community who travel can do what needs to be accomplished in a much shorter time period? Which of those 12 days are for leisure time and not business? If the mayor felt he really needed to go, why did so many other people need to go with him? Money is tight for everyone, including the city.
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