The Most Powerful Men You’ve Never Heard Of

For Your Reading // Learn Something // Take Action

If you haven’t read Jane Mayer’s obnoxiously long, but insanely informative piece in the New Yorker this week, you should.  Mayer exposes the vast connections between Koch Industries and a plethora of rabid anti-government organizations, including Americans for Prosperity and Citizens for a Sound Economy, among many others.  What is particularly disturbing is the way the Koch family stealthily funnels money into groups that reinforce policies which, coincidentally, benefit the industries from which Koch derives its wealth: oil and chemicals.  Money from the Koch family also helped launch conservative think tanks such as the Cato Institute and the Mercatus Center.  As the article explains:

An environmental lawyer who has clashed with the Mercatus Center called it “a means of laundering economic aims.” The lawyer explained the strategy: “You take corporate money and give it to a neutral-sounding think tank,” which “hires people with pedigrees and academic degrees who put out credible-seeming studies. But they all coincide perfectly with the economic interests of their funders.”

Koch has been the target of several EPA investigations, which could explain why the company has fought so hard to limit the power of the federal government to regulate polluters.  In 1997 the EPA tried to regulate emissions from oil refineries.  According to Mayer’s piece, Susan Dudley, an economist with the Mercatus Center, argued that the EPA had not taken into account that smog-free skies would result in more cases of skin cancer.  Yes, you read that correctly.

The article is far too long and complex to summarize in a few short paragraphs.  Suffice to say it’s worth the read.  Once you’re done reading, you may want to take a look at the list of products Koch Industries manufactures.  If you’re like me, once you’ve read the article you won’t want to give these guys one more dime of your money.

Angel Soft toilet paper
Brawny paper towels
Dixie plates, bowls, napkins and cups
Mardi Gras napkins and towels
Quilted Northern toilet paper
Soft ‘n Gentle toilet paper
Sparkle napkins
Vanity fair napkins
Zee napkins
Georgia Pacific paper products and envelopes