By Jason Easley
A week after the Census Bureau reported that American poverty has hit an all time high, America has learned the wealth of Charles and David Koch has increased 43% since March of 2010.
According to Forbes, the Koch Brothers have seen their fortune grow by 43% in a little more than a year to $25 billion. According to Think Progress the Koch boys have made their money by aggressively speculating in energy markets, “Koch uses legitimate hedging products to create price stability. However, the documents reveal that Koch is also participating in the unregulated derivatives markets as a financial player, buying and selling speculative products that are increasingly contributing to the skyrocketing price of oil.”
In other words, every time the price of gas goes up for no particular reason other than the vague energy speculators excuse, the Koch brothers just made themselves more money. Charles and David Koch are profiting by artificially raising the price of energy futures. What makes the Koch brothers different is that they have taken some of their vast fortune and used it to fund candidates and elected officials in the Republican Party who will allow them to keep making money while the rest of America winces when they have to fill up the gas tank.
The Bush Recession has been great for people like Charles and David Koch. With a 43% gain in wealth, it is no wonder why they want to keep the bad times going for the rest of us. While the super rich have gotten even richer, everyone has seen their wealth plummet.
As David A. Griffith wrote,
Leverage is an amazing thing: When prices go up, the borrower gets all the gains. And when prices go down, the borrower takes all the losses. Some families lost everything when the bubble collapsed, others lost very little. But, on average, American homeowners lost 55% of the wealth in their home.Politicians on both sides of aisle tend to get caught up in the stock market as an assessment of economic confidence, but too few of them are talking about the real cause of the middle class decline. Since the housing market collapse the rich are continuing to get rich, while most Americans are still reeling from losing half of their wealth.
Most middle-class families didn’t have much wealth to begin with — about $100,000. For the 22 million families right in the middle of the income distribution (those making between $39,000 and $62,000 before taxes), about 90% of their assets was in the house. Now half of their wealth is gone and it will never come back as long as they live.
In case you still think that taxes should not be increased on the rich, check out the two charts below.
Koch Brothers Wealth:
History of Millionaires Tax Rates:
Lowering taxes on the wealthy has made the rich richer, and inequality greater. People like the Koch Brothers don’t create wealth for us all. They have been creating wealth for themselves at our expense. The old Reagan era idea that a high tide raises all boats has proven itself to be completely false over the past decade. The system that we have in place now raises the yachts and drowns the rest of us.
President Obama’s proposal to increase taxes on the wealthy is an opportunity for the rest of us to get the water out of lungs. One tax increase on millionaires isn’t going to reverse a decade’s worth of growth in inequality, but it is a start.
15.1% of the American people are now living in poverty, while the Republican job creators are adding to their wealth. In 2012, it will be time for us to take control of our country back from the Koch heads.