-By Mary Bell Lockhart
May 22, 2011- Remember the old saying "What's good for business is good for Texas?" Well, maybe that old saw just won't cut it anymore. The "Billionaire Brothers Koch" apparently think not only what's good for business in general is good for Texas, they also think what's good specifically for THEIR business is good for YOU, Mr and Ms Texan. Do you buy that?
Koch Industries is the second largest privately held US corporation, with subsidiaries in all but a few states. They rake in $100 billion each year by selling us a wide array of products. They're all over Texas with subsidiaries including Flint Hills Resources, Koch Pipeline Company, INVISTA, Georgia-Pacific, Koch Supply & Trading, Koch Carbon, Koch Pulp & Paper Trading, Koch Agriculture Company (including the Matador Ranch), Koch Chemical Technology Group, and Koch Nitrogen Company.
Their businesses are refining and supplying oil, gas and chemicals, with a web of pipelines and terminals in every major Texas city, fabrics like nylon, spandex and polyester polymers (e.g., STAINMASTER – carpet and COOLMAX – fabric), construction materials like wallboard, pulp, paper and tissue, and cattle and horse ranching. Furthermore, they also trade in the commodities they sell and derivatives in financial markets.
It's easy to see what public policies would be good for Koch Industries. But maybe we need to examine these policies and ask, "Are these good for me, my family, my neighbors, my business, my community, my state and nation?" Is what's good for Koch Industries really good for the rest of us?
To distort the information base from which public policy is derived, the Koch brothers have created and/or helped fund foundations and "think tanks" like the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Institute for Policy Innovation, and the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
But that's not all: They've also injected their ideology into public institutions of higher education such as the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in Virginia. Charles Koch donated $1.5 million to Florida State University's economics program with strings attached allowing him approval of professors hired. Individually and through the Association of Private Enterprise Education, the Kochs fund dozens of university programs with similar strings attached such as a focus on specific research benefiting Koch Industries and installing "pre-trained," Koch-friendly professors.