It’s a lavish three-day affair. So it was surprising to hear Charles Koch on Saturday evening, surrounded by some of the wealthiest men and women in the nation, take the stage to assail big bank bailouts and government handouts for the rich. Charles Koch is the more press-shy of the Koch duo, who together run one of the country’s largest privately held companies, Koch Industries. Doing away with crony capitalism might hurt some of the individuals in attendance, Koch said, and it would certainly hurt Koch Industries, but over the long term, doing away with crony capitalism would revitalize the economy and benefit all parties. Bailing out the big banks, he said, had not only created a culture of dependency at the top, but crushed small community banks at the bottom.
“We need to start by eliminating welfare for the rich,” he said. “Physician, heal thyself.”
IT very much appears the New York Times wanted to appear it provided a balanced look at the company and the brothers behind it. At the very least they wanted to give one positive view of them: they’re philanthropists, but that’s as far as it goes.
Welcome to Kochville, where the family name conjures up something decidedly different from the specter raised by Democrats of secretive political operations funded by tens of millions of dollars in anonymous campaign money. For many living here in Wichita along the Arkansas River, it stands instead for well-paying jobs, extensive philanthropy like the $6 million for the arena renovation and Kansas pride in being the headquarters of Koch Industries, the nation’s second-largest privately held company, which produces oil, fertilizer and common household items like paper towels and toilet tissue.
To start, I need to address one thing; this New York Times piece repeatedly refers to Wichita as “Kochville”. As a Wichitan, this comes off as an attempt to smear Wichita, thus making this city as reviled by the left as the Koch brothers are, in the hopes the brothers will lose large base of support: the people of Wichita.
The Kochs’ reach in the city — once known as Cowtown because of its history as a railhead for Texas cattle drives and later called America’s Air Capital for its private aircraft manufacturing industry — extends far beyond the arena and company headquarters now expanding in the northeast corner of the city.
The New York Times shamelessly casts aside the labels and identity Wichita still uses, such as Air Capital and Cowtown, then spend over ten paragraphs in an attempt to create the narrative that Wichita is “Kochville” by way of the philanthropic endeavors. Never mind the fact the Koch brothers give an awful lot in the New York City area.
In point of fact, the majority of the people employed by Koch Industries are from Wichita, but the company isn’t the largest employer in Wichita. That distinction goes to Spirit Aerosystems.
It must be made clear to people outside of Wichita, when the other companies that Wichita helped bring about grew larger, companies such as Coleman, Pizza Hut, Stearman, and others, they left Wichita for bigger cities. Boeing operated in Wichita, earlier as Stearman, for over 70 years. Very soon that company will leave this community for good. Like Pizza Hut and Coleman, Boeing turned it’s back on Wichita, but Koch Industries has remained loyal to this community and grown the company, and credit for that remains with the Koch brothers.