Stained Glass Dove of Peace

How They Stole The American Dream

Our government used to be far better at helping our people when they were down and out, lifting them up with a helping hand and the basic foundations for success.

  • College used to be free or very cheap.
  • One parent could work and support the whole family, generally with health insurance from work, vacations, and retirement pensions.
  • Now most Americans are stressed and struggling to survive.

The Superrich Stole $50 Trillion From Us

Big Money Politics destroyed all of this and our land of opportunity.  It constantly cut taxes on the rich and money for elementary school, high school, colleges, infrastructure, Social Security, Medicare, job training, and social services.

Our corporations spend $4 billion a year lobbying Congress.  To get ever richer, the Koch network used an army of lobbyists and campaign donations over the last 45 years to cut taxes on the rich and cut public services for the rest of us.

The Rand Corporation proved the superrich have stolen $50 trillion, most of the economic growth for the last 40 years, from the bottom 90% of Americans.  If not for this unfair rigged economy, the Rand Corporation found the bottom 90% of Americans would be earning double what they do now.

Manipulating Public Opinion

The Koch network constantly brainwashed Americans to hate taxes and government services and to push them far, far to the extreme right.

The Koch network spent billions of dollars over the last 40 years on:

  • 162 right-wing think tanks and tax-exempt nonprofit organization advocacy groups
  • front groups to fight health care for all and create fears of death panels
  • lobbyists
  • tens of thousands of articles, studies, media projects, and fake “experts” testifying in Congress against the minimum wage, convincing people that Social Security is broke and needs big cuts, denying the dangers of toxic chemicals and denying climate change
  • training and supporting media personalities like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson and Steve Bannon
  • training campus conservatives in a pipeline to well-paid jobs in think tanks, media, politics, lobbying or Super PACs.
  • For example, a campus reporter going to conservative website Breitbart can start at $65,000 a year, while a campus reporter going to progressive Nation magazine may get an internship that pays $18 an hour!

The Koch network carefully tested persuasive messages in focus groups using cultural stereotypes to stay in power, building hysteria about welfare and socialism:

  • Every time anyone suggested money for education, health care, job training, unemployment, or any other laws to help poor people lift themselves up, Koch media personalities fought back.
  • Their media puppet talking heads angrily railed about dangerous socialism, communism, Marxist ideas, class war, welfare that just made people lazy, and the horrors of taxing people who worked hard for all they’ve got in order to give services to the “lazy” poor.
  • They pretended our taxes were paying for generations of lazy welfare queens popping out babies and drug addicted people in slums living it up watching TV all day and buying steaks and lobster with their food stamps.
  • Actually, the average number of children in families on welfare is the same as in other families: 1.8.
  • Far too many Americans fell for it, not realizing that most people needing and using social services are white people just going through difficult times.

Now the Koch network has a faithful coalition including white supremacists, ordinary people just fearful of immigrants or black or poor people, evangelical Christians against abortion and LGBT people, and gun enthusiasts.

The Koch network also spent their billions of dollars on:

Taking Over Our Government

  • campaign donations, get-out-the-vote efforts, and direct mail, radio, TV, and digital ads for Republican politicians like Mitch McConnell, Mike Pence, Paul Ryan, Scott Walker, Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis
  • training fake grassroot movements like the Tea Party and building the Republican waves of 2010 and 2014, installing Republican majorities in 31 states by 2018
  • massively gerrymandering the voting districts in these 31 states using computer algorithms to make it much harder for Democrats to win elections no matter how many votes they get
  • the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), their organization for lobbyists to actually write laws favoring the superrich, along with member Congressmen, so Republicans in Congress can introduce these model bills as their own
  • dictating the policies they want in every area of our lives, from taxes to bankruptcy
  • making it harder for poor people, youth, college students, and ethnic minorities to vote

Buying Politicians

 For decades, the Koch network constantly sued to loosen campaign finance rules.  In 2010, they finally succeeded with the terrible Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case.

Now the Koch network can buy elections and politicans with hidden, untraceable money.  We have no law requiring campaign ads to be truthful, so the Koch network often uses outright lies in dark-money ads to fight progressive candidates who might actually help the American people.

They spent $1.1 billion to influence the 2020 election alone.  The Koch network army of employees in their various think tanks and organizations is far larger than the Republican party.

Buying Judges

The Koch network cultivates, brainwashes, and trains judges in luxury vacation resorts to side with billionaires and large corporations.  They also grade judges on their faithfulness to Big Money and publish these ratings in places like newspapers to embarrass them.

The Koch network funded organizations to choose extreme right-wing judges.  And they bought media campaigns to install these judges faithful to Big Money and hostile to voting rights, civil rights, health care for all, worker rights, abortion, LGBT people, protecting the environment or gun safety laws.

The Koch network installed Supreme Court Justices John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett.

The Koch Network Won & Totally Rigged Our Economy

Over the last 40 years, the Koch network crushed the middle class, leaving most Americans stressed and struggling.  They did this by brainwashing us:

  • Much of America now hates taxes and big government, even programs that protect the middle class, the elderly, children, and sick people.
  • Many Americans now believe Social Security is a broke program and needs big cuts, even though we don’t collect SS taxes on income over $160,200 per year and doing so would easily fund it for another 75 years.

Billionaires pay far less of their income in taxes than maids, secretaries garbage men, and truck drivers do.

Massive companies like Amazon, AT&T, Nike, Exxon Mobil, Verizon, General Electric, Boeing, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Fed Ex, Fox News, and Dow Chemicals pay no taxes at all in some years.

CEOs and investors at major corporations like Walmart and McDonald’s make hundreds of millions of dollars while we taxpayers support their workers with over $153 billion a year in food stamps, Medicaid, and other public assistance!

Banks like Chase and Bank America and hedge funds buy up delinquent taxes or water or sewer bills or other local government fees, then charge high interest rates and legal fees and foreclose on people who can’t afford to pay.

  • One woman whose husband just died lost a $280,000 house over $6.30 in unpaid interest she didn’t even know about.
  • At the time of the house tax auction, she only owed $235, with other fees and interest.
  • A 95-year-old church choir leader with Alzheimer’s disease lost her family home to a Maryland investor over a tax debt of $44.79 while she was in a nursing home.
  • A retired Marine sergeant with dementia in Washington D.C. lost his paid off $179,000 home because of a $134 property tax bill when the extra fees added up to $4,999.
  • An unemployed woman in Baltimore with four children lost her fully paid off home because of a $362 water bill after investors took over and added thousands of dollars in legal fees she couldn’t afford.

The rich can inherit billions of dollars and pay no income tax, but if you win a TV in a local lottery or find $100 on the street, you must pay a tax on it!

We can’t deduct our cars from our taxes but the superrich can deduct 100% of buying a corporate jet from their taxes!

Regular workers can’t put more than $22,500 each year into a 401K retirement account but CEOs can put millions of dollars into their retirement accounts and even claim a tax break for it.

Bankruptcy laws let the superrich keep most of their assets while their banks, investors, contractors, and workers lose billions, including even their jobs and homes.

Yet new bankruptcy laws stop regular Americans from declaring bankruptcy on their mortgages or student loans.  We can’t even renegotiate them!

While nearly half of people with mortgages get no tax deduction at all, the rich can deduct interest on second mansions and yachts if they just live on them 14 days a year.

Regular Americans go to jail all the time just because they can’t pay their medical, utility, car and credit card debts, court fines, or bail money.

Yet corporations can launder money for drug cartels and terrorist groups and pay cost-of-business fines and their CEOs can walk away with hundreds of millions of dollars!

Now it is much harder to sue employers or corporations for injuries, deaths, abuse, negligence, injury, discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, wage disputes, overtime, unfair extra fees, defective products, or scams.

The Kock network and Republicans destroyed unions and living standards, especially in “right to work” states.  In those states, people have:

  • $6,500 less income per household on average
  • 15% more poverty
  • 54% more chance of dying on the job
  • less health insurance and worse job benefits
  • higher infant mortality
  • 31% less money per child in elementary and high school funding

Trump & The Koch Network

The Trump administration was a dream come true for the Koch network.  It had very close ties to 44 Trump administration officials, including Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo, Betsy Devos, and Scott Pruitt.

Trump filled his administration with corporate executives and 281 lobbyists.  Many of them hated and wanted to destroy the agencies they ran.

Trump put superrich financial services predators and illegal “Foreclosure Kings” Steve Mnuchin and Wilbur Ross in charge of the Treasury and Commerce Departments.

Charles Koch bragged that “We’ve made more progress in the last 5 years than I had in the previous 50.”

Now dozens of Koch network think tanks led by the Heritage Foundation are working to make sure that if Trump gets elected again, he will be much more successful in enforcing the priorities of the superrich in his second term.

They are doing this by screening candidates for a list of 20,000 loyalists Trump can install into government who would be willing to further destroy public services, the environment, workplace safety, unions, worker and consumer rights, and all government social safety net programs.