Friday, 4 February 2011

Battling plutocrats

I've read a lot lately about how evil the Koch family is for using its wealth to try to affect policy. I've not read much about how evil George Soros is for using his wealth to try to affect policy. The Koch family spends its money trying to make sure folks know about law & economics and to help folks having their houses expropriated by local governments. Soros uses his to campaign for marijuana legalization and international democratic movements. Koch made his money in chemicals and oil; Soros made his in currency speculation.

Seems odd that everyone loves to hate on Koch and loves to love Soros. And seems especially odd that anti-Koch demonstrations get funded by Soros.
Palm Springs, California -At the front gates of the Rancho Las Palmas resort, a few hundred liberals rallied Sunday against "corporate greed" and polluters. They chanted for the arrest of billionaires Charles and David Koch, and their ire was also directed at the other free market-oriented businessmen invited here by the Koch brothers to discuss free markets and electoral strategies.

Billionaires poisoning our politics was the central theme of the protests. But nothing is quite as it seems in modern politics: The protest's organizer, the nonprofit Common Cause, is funded by billionaire George Soros.

Common Cause has received $2 million from Soros's Open Society Institute in the past eight years, according to grant data provided by Capital Research Center. Two panelists at Common Cause's rival conference nearby -- President Obama's former green jobs czar, Van Jones, and blogger Lee Fang -- work at the Center for American Progress, which was started and funded by Soros but, as a 501(c)4 nonprofit "think tank," legally conceals the names of its donors.

In other words, money from billionaire George Soros and anonymous, well-heeled liberals was funding a protest against rich people's influence on politics.

When Politico reporter Ken Vogel pointed out that Soros hosts similar "secret" confabs, CAP's Fang responded on Twitter: "don't you think there's a very serious difference between donors who help the poor vs. donors who fund people to kill government, taxes on rich?"

In less than 140 characters, Fang had epitomized the myopic liberal view of money in politics: Conservative money is bad, and linked to greed, while liberal money is self-evidently philanthropic.
Next we'll have an angry mob of Koch-funded Tea Partiers having at a gaggle of Soros-funded hipsters. Enough of these proxy fights between Koch and Soros. I think it's time for Fight Club. Pay per view, with profits to the winner's preferred charity. Vegas. I'll put $100 on Charles Koch at odds up to 2:1 (I pay $200 if I lose); 3:1 if it's David rather than Charles for the Koch side (relative youth). Any takers?

I like much of the work Soros does - especially his push for marijuana legalization. I'm less a fan of some of his other work, but I'd hardly think him evil for it. I've great admiration for the Kochs' work in advancing economic freedoms - especially through the Institute for Justice. I'm more skeptical that the Tea Party will turn out to be all that great a boon for freedom. Soros-funded anti-Koch rallies seem rather silly; the protesters, pawns of a different plutocrat, are even sillier.

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