Charles Koch and Dr. Michael Lomax, president and CEO of the United Negro College Fund, speak with the Washington Post at the Freedom Partners Summit on Aug. 3, 2015 in Dana Point, Ca. 
Photo by Patrick T. Fallon/The Washington Post/Getty

Koch denounces political focus on ‘the privileged few’

In the fall of 2015, Charles Koch did an interview with CBS in which he insisted that he and his brother are trying to “fight against special interests.” When the interviewer noted that many might consider Koch and his business enterprise to be a classic example of a special interest, the billionaire added, “Yeah, but my interest is, just as it’s been in business, is what will help people improve their lives, and to get rid of these special interests.”

When Koch invests in politics, it’s fine – because his interests, the story goes, aren’t “special.”

About a month later, Yahoo News asked Charles Koch about the role of money in politics and the influence of wealthy donors such as himself. The billionaire replied that he and his political operation make political investments “so there’s less money in politics.” This, too, seemed like a failure of self-awareness.

All of which brings us to Koch’s new op-ed in the Washington Post, which denounces Donald Trump’s new trade tariffs in a memorable way.

To include millions more of our people in true economic progress, our lawmakers must act on behalf of all Americans – not just the privileged few. If they do, I am confident we can regain our citizens’ trust and ensure that America’s best days are yet to come.

It’s a bit jarring, isn’t it? Charles Koch, an influential billionaire and one of the most powerful mega-donors in politics, wants elected officials to focus less on “the privileged few.”

It’s a nice sentiment, to be sure, though as a HuffPost piece added, “Everyday Americans forking over unearned millions – to make up for slashing the corporate rate and estate taxes for the wealthy – could be a description of what just happened in the new tax law, which was vigorously supported by Koch.”