Charles Koch

Some excerpts from Stephen Moore's Wall Street Journal article on Charles Koch from yesterday:

He then confidently predicts: "Regulatory laws like Sarbanes-Oxley will only increase the earnings advantages of private firms. I would suspect that there will be more of these private company takeovers of publicly traded companies." He's referring to his blockbuster $21 billion purchase of Georgia Pacific last November, a Fortune 500 forest and paper company. [...]

Mr. Koch is by training a scientist, with master's degrees from MIT in nuclear and chemical engineering. Despite his business success, he has no MBA or formal management training. Mr. Koch sees that as an advantage. "Being an engineer, I realized there's an objective reality that helps one understand the rules and conditions that improve the human condition," he says. "Laws and principles that facilitate the advancement of peace, prosperity and social progress are as immutable as the laws that work in science. . . . Politicians often come up with misguided policy solutions," he continues, "because they suffer from Hayek's 'fatal conceit' and believe they can violate basic laws of economics. They are just as misguided as the man who jumps out the 14th floor of a building convinced that he can repeal the law of gravity."

As we continue, Mr. Koch becomes increasingly animated. He discusses another seminal work in his collection, F.A. Harper's 1957 "Why Wages Rise." The book demonstrates "that wages rise not because of unions or government action, but because of marginal productivity gains--people get more money when they produce more value for other people." Then he confides, "I was so thrilled by this revelation that I had what Maslow called a 'peak experience.'" [...]

"Just as central planning is a failure in running government, so it is at the level of the firm," he says, repeating one of his favorite operating tenets. [...]

Charles Koch--no surprise--disdains government and the political class. He has invested tens of millions of dollars into free-market think-tanks and political activist groups (including several founded by this author). He's disgusted with the runaway federal budget under the Republicans, and he proposes that "every new law should be subject to the question: Will it strengthen the culture of prosperity?" Won't about 90% of the laws fail that test? "Yes, that's exactly what I mean," he replies. "But the problem isn't the people in government, it's the system--the incentives are perverse."

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As of the publication of

As of the publication of _The Buying of the President 2004_ by Charles Lewis and the Center for Public Integrity, Koch Industries had contributed $79,950 to George W. Bush. That's not enough to put them in Bush's top ten patrons list, but it's significant.

Koch Industries was the #4 contributor to political campaigns in the oil and gas industry from 1998-2004, after ChevronTexaco, El Paso Corp., and Enron.

So when he says he has disdain for politicians, that doesn't mean he doesn't fund them. He may be trying to distance himself from Bush and the Republicans now, but he helped put Bush in power.

Given that we live in a

Given that we live in a world of political thuggery, is it any wonder that even the most libertarian of businessmen feels the need to pay off the theives, possibly by putting an ostensibly lesser thief in office? Bill Gates didn't spend much of anything in DC... until he got hit with that idiotic anti-trust suit; now he spends millions on lobbyists.