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“The Kochtopus” & The Waltons – local impacts

Photo credit: Jared Rodriguez/Truthout

With several of our area politicians on the receiving end of Koch Brothers’ funding via their association with ALEC (often referred to as “The Kochtopus”), and the recent Business Examiner report highlighting that the City of Yelm turned their backs to issue a Wal-Mart building permit without having a Bypass constructed within 7 years of their opening to mitigate their traffic, the following recent stories demonstrate how these two families’ moneys are affecting us locally. As examples, our local politicians’ connections:

– Recent Thurston County Auditor candidate and retired Rep. Gary C. Alexander (R-2), was an ALEC Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force Member.
– Health Care Committee Chair Sen. Randi Becker is a member of the ALEC Education Task Force.

– “Six of the Top Ten U.S. Billionaires Are Kochs and Waltons”
“The profits of corporate giants that crash our economy and corrupt our politics deserve your outrage. But the efforts to curb them need your creative energy.”

“For the first time ever, according to Forbes magazine, the 400 richest Americans have more than $2 trillion in combined wealth. And, a fifth of that amount is held by just 10 individuals. Of those top 10 richest Americans, six hail from two familiesthe Kochs and the Waltonswho are destroying our economy and corrupting our politics. We all should be outraged.

Arguably, the two most urgent tasks in this country are to transform our economy and to clean up our politics, and these two families stand in the way of both.

Our economy is addicted to fossil fuels and Charles and David Kochs company, Koch Industries, is a key driver with investments in pipelines and refineries across the United States. These two Koch brothers rank four and five on the billionaire list.

In addition, our economy is marked by stagnating wages, which have sunk to poverty levels for millions of workers. The key driver of our low-wage economy is Walmart, with its 11,000 stores worldwide that pay so little that many of its workers get by on food stamps. The four main heirs to Walmarts founder, Sam Walton, rank numbers six, seven, eight, and nine on the billionaires list. Three sit on the Walmart board, including Rob Walton, the board chair. (Other U.S. billionaires have made their fortunes in destructive Wall Street financial firms and through the generous government handouts of what President Eisenhower called “the military-industrial complex.”)

The problem is, of course, not just economics. Its the way that economics interacts with politics. The Koch brothers have poured some of their combined $72 billion in wealth into conservative and tea party politicians at the governor and state legislature levels,” quoting John Cavanagh, Robin Broad in Yes! Magazine.
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– “What Wal-Mart is telling us about middle and lower income consumers”
“Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, has cut its outlook for the fourth-quarter of 2013. And that may have a lot to do with the American consumer, particularly those in the lower and middle income segments.”

“According to Steve Cortes, founder of Veracruz TJM, Wal-Mart shares are suffering because consumers in the lower income are having a rough time with high costs. Wal-Mart’s stock is down nearly 5% so far in 2014,” quoting Lawrence Lewitinn in Yahoo!
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– “Issue ad or political ad? You be the judge”
“School board candidates backed by Koch-connected nonprofit”
From Rachel Baye from The Center for Public Integrity
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– “Judge rules tea party group a PAC, not a nonprofit”
“A Travis County district court judge ruled this week that a Houston-based tea party group is not a nonprofit corporation as it claims, but an unregistered political action committee that illegally aided the Republican Party through its poll-watching efforts during the 2010 elections,” quoting Joe Holley in the Houston Chronicle.

Posted by Steve on March 24, 2014 at 5:57 am | Permalink

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