Who’s really winning the Trump-Koch brothers feud? — Информационное Агентство "365 дней"

Who’s really winning the Trump-Koch brothers feud?

Buoyed by the robotic oarsmanship of thousands of former Princeton rowers and Duke fratbros interning at the Heritage Foundation or working on the staff of minor Tea Party congressmen, the ambitions of David and Charles Koch remain afloat. Without their lunatic efforts — and, of course, the hundreds of millions of dollars in what basically amount to bribes — the project would sink overnight.

How many living Americans, I wonder, support cutting taxes; repealing limits on campaign contributions; ending state usury laws; abolishing Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid; eliminating the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration, the Departments of Energy and Transportation, the Federal Aviation Administration, public transit, «all subsidies for child-bearing built into our present laws, including all welfare plans and the provision of tax-supported services for children,» and even the poor old Post Office; taking a softer line on crime and drugs; legalizing same-sex marriage; and teaching materialism to children?

The Kochs’ political views are like a libertarian version of «The Aristocrats.» Conservatives railed against Barack Obama for his one-off line about «fundamentally transforming the United States of America.» If the billionaire Kansan businessmen had their way, there would be no United States of America — just an oligarchy of the mega-rich lording over bondservants traveling in foreign-made plastic automobiles from their non-minimum-wage-paying jobs to the legal dope emporium to the payday loan «store.»

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This is why I am enjoying President Trump’s ongoing e-feud with the Brothers Koch. Last weekend Koch minions at some ludicrous conference denounced Trump’s «protectionist» trade policies and his «lack of leadership.» Later, Charles went on television and called for a removal of «all barriers» to international trade. The president responded on Twitter:

Then, for no obvious reason, he responded on Twitter again a few days later:

Ignore his third-person pronoun here, which is a step down from the usual royal «we.» The antinomian worldview of the Kochs appears to be incompatible with whatever private meaning «America First» has for Trump, and even with what passes for his legislative agenda on issues such as immigration (as Bernie Sanders pointed out in 2015). This is not to say that most of what his administration actually does — lowering taxes, undermining the EPA, hacking away at regulations almost at random — is at odds with the Kochs; in fact, Trump might be the most libertarian president since Jimmy Carter. (Sure, the trade thing is unfortunate from their perspective, but even Reagan wasn’t exactly on the level there.)

Trump is right, as he tends to be whenever he says something rude about his conservative critics: The Kochs are a «total joke.» They are about as serious as the libertarian college student who once told me that we could abolish public sidewalks because a deity he referred to as «the market» would create inexpensive hovercraft that passersby could use to avoid trodding on cement to which their merely private feet had no right. To want what they want you would have to be utterly heartless; to think that the American people would ever stand for it you would have to be brain-dead. America has a better chance of becoming a Soviet republic or a Catholic monarchy under His Majesty King Francis II than it does of abolishing Social Security or Medicare.

If Trump can see what’s wrong with the Kochs’ agenda, why does he insist on implementing most of it anyway? There are any number of reasons, but the most important one is that he is an entertainer who happens to have been elected president. He tells jokes and often says rude things about people. Some people laugh; others pretend to be hysterically offended. I bet Charles and David Koch belong to the first group.

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