Think Progress: Denier Cash Machine Swells: Pollutocrat Koch Brothers Now Worth $50 Billion, Poised to Become Richest Men in America

-By Joe Romm, September 22, 2011

 The two brothers who bankroll climate denial and the Tea Party extremists keep getting richer. Forbes estimates that pollutocrats Charles and David Koch have a fortune of $25 billion each, making them the fourth (and fifth) richest Americans.

As TP Green notes:

Buoyed by aggressive speculative trading on volatile energy markets, the Koch brothers accumulated $15 billion in wealth since March 2010, a 43 percent increase.

Like many folks who run oil companies, the Kochs love high oil prices. And the Kochs essentially invented oil derivatives — and led the way to deregulate the market — so they could profit even more.

The only three richer Americans are:

3. Larry Ellison (Oracle) – $33 billion

2. Warren Buffett – $39 billion

1. Bill Gates – $59 billion

Gates and Buffett are an interesting contrast to the Kochs. Gates and Buffett devote more and more of their money to helping the developing world deal with ever-worsening impacts of climate change (though Buffett profits from pollution, too). The Kochs work tirelessly to enrich themselves while destroying the climate. Guess which pair is going to win?

Let’s look closer at why the Kochs are poised to become the richest Americans.

Sure, the Kochs spend a lot of their money to ensure the destruction of a livable climate (see “Report: Koch Industries outspends Exxon Mobil on climate and clean energy disinformation“). But those tens of millions are only a small fraction of their wealth. Also, it really is a form of insurance. Keeping America addicted to oil is good for business. Similarly, the millions they spend on the Tea Party keep duping that movement into maintaining low taxes for the rich and ensuring that clean air and other regulations will be kept to a minimum if not gutted entirely.

The bottom line for the Kochs is that one would have to believe that their wealth will continue to rise since oil prices are headed up, and they’ve created a powerful political weapon in the form of the Tea Party to ensure their civilization-threatening avarice continues unabated.


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