We have documented here, here, here, here, here, here and here the New York Times’ sordid campaign against the Koch brothers, Charles and David. In its news stories, op-eds and editorials, the paper has peddled one untruth after another, demonstrating once again that its highest loyalty is to left-wing politics rather than journalistic competence.
On April 7, Times political writer Tim Egan stepped into the lists. His subject was “Billionaires Unleashed.” Egan’s observations cover rich people ranging from Paris Hilton to Bill Gates, but he reserves his nasty comments for Donald Trump and–of course–Charles and David Koch.
Egan quotes with apparent approval Balzac’s silly witticism that “behind every great fortune lies a great crime.” As applied to contemporary America, it would be far closer to the truth to say that behind every great fortune lies a great service to humanity. And with typically liberal myopia, Egan thinks that rich people do good only when they give their money away:
But what really matters, to the rest of world, are their second acts [i.e., philanthropy].
In fact, most rich people do more good by creating wealth than by dispensing it.
Egan’s fallacies come into play when he casually smears the Koch brothers:
Then there are the Koch brothers, David and Charles, who’ve given to cancer research and the arts, yes, but also pour millions into efforts to keep average workers from getting a fair shake, and against laws that protect clean water and air. They plan to spend millions more in next year’s election to support policies that ensure the gap between rich and poor grows ever bigger.
One would think that if there is any group of people who unquestionably are benefactors of “average workers,” it is the companies who hire them. Koch Industries rebuts Egan on its web site by pointing out that it employs more than 50,000 Americans (and 20,000 more around the world) in what a union official recently described as “among the best-paid manufacturing jobs in America.” He also noted that Koch’s workforce is “highly unionized” and the company “has positive and productive collective bargaining relationships with its unions.” (The reference here was to Georgia-Pacific, one of the largest Koch companies, but it holds true for other subsidiaries as well.)
It is entertaining to compare Koch Industries’ labor record with that of Mr. Egan’s own employer, the New York Times. As we have noted before, the Times has a long history of union-busting. Here, it reported on the concessions it demanded in exchange for agreeing to keep the Boston Globe operating: eight percent pay cuts, unpaid furloughs, zero employer contributions to retirement plans, and layoffs.
Currently, the Newspaper Guild–isn’t Egan a member?–is embroiled in a labor dispute with the Times, in which the union is objecting to the paper’s “horrendous contract proposal” and its “threat[s] to cut pay and benefits for the people who produce the paper.”
The Koch brothers treat their employees vastly better than the New York Times Company treats its workers. This is enabled, of course, by the fact that Koch Industries, unlike the New York Times, is a highly successful and profitable company. But that success is what the Times wants to demonize, so it would be inconvenient to acknowledge how much it benefits the company’s employees.
What about Egan’s claim that the Koch brothers are “against laws that protect clean water and air”? Egan offers no facts to back up his claim, so one can only guess what he is talking about. But the truth is that Koch Industries is one of the most environmentally responsible companies in America, and has repeatedly been recognized as such. In the last two years alone, the company has received 289 awards for environmental stewardship.
Most bizarre, perhaps, is Egan’s claim that the Koch brothers “support policies that ensure the gap between rich and poor grows ever bigger.” The Koch brothers support policies that promote growth and the creation of wealth. Is Mr. Egan, along with his colleagues at the Times, so obtuse that he doesn’t realize that the Kochs and their management team know a thing or two about how to create wealth?
It must be very odd to be a liberal like Tim Egan. Here he is, living in the most prosperous nation in history, where more wealth has been created, and wealth has been earned by more people, than anywhere else on earth–and he has absolutely no idea why. Free enterprise? Entrepreneurship? Risk-taking? Restraints on the rapaciousness of the parasitic public sector? All of these things are anathema to liberals. So, in Tim Egan’s world, the only good thing you can say about a rich person is that he gave his money away. How did he get it in the first place? Egan has no idea, except that it must have been some sort of “crime.”