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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thanking The Koch Brothers: Union VP Explains Why Boycotting Koch Industries Is Moronic

Interspersing complaints and whining about David H. Koch and Charles G. Koch's political agenda with facts of what Koch industries does for workers and the good they do for America, International Vice President at United Steelworkers, Jon Geenen explains why the recent calls for boycotting Koch's businesses is a very bad idea.

Before addressing the idiocy of Geenen's political arguments, lets highlight his admittance that the Koch family is the prime example of what America needs today.

A number of organizations are advocating a boycott of the products that come from companies owned by the Koch family. This is problematic for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it could potentially hurt the wrong people.

The Koch brothers own Georgia Pacific. It is an American consumer goods company that makes everyday products like facial tissue, napkins, paper towels, paper cups and the like. Their plants are great examples of American advanced manufacturing. Incidentally,

GP makes most of its products here in America. The company’s workforce is highly unionized. In fact, 80 percent of its mills are under contract with one or more labor union. It is not inaccurate to say that these are among the best-paid manufacturing jobs in America.

This presents a dilemma and a paradox. While the Koch brothers are credited with advocating an agenda and groups that are clearly hostile to labor and labor’s agenda, the brothers’ company in practice and in general has positive and productive collective bargaining relationships with its unions.

While some companies are running from investment in American jobs, The Koch brothers’ Georgia Pacific just reached agreements with its primary union in the paper industry to invest more than a half a billion dollars in capital to essentially create two state-of-the-art machines that conserve fiber and energy at two separate union mills.

Emphasis mine.

Koch Industries advances American jobs and American manufacturing. Two things this country is in dire need of.

A look at their subsidiaries across various industries gives a good indication of how many jobs the Koch brothers provide in the United States:

* Georgia-Pacific paper and pulp company, maker of "Brawny" paper towels, "Angel Soft" toilet paper, "Mardi Gras" napkins and towels, "Quilted Northern" toilet paper and paper towels, "Dixie" paper plates, bowls, napkins and cups, "Sparkle" paper towels, and "Vanity Fair" paper napkins, bowls, plates and tablecloths. The Atlanta-based company has operations in 27 states.

* Invista, a polymer and fibers company that makes "Stainmaster" carpet, and "Lycra" fiber, among other products.

* Koch Pipeline Company LP, which owns and operates 4,000 miles of pipeline used to transport oil, natural gas liquids and chemicals. Its pipelines are located across Wisconsin, Minnesota, Texas, Missouri, Iowa, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Alberta, Canada. The firm operates offices in Wichita, Kansas, St. Paul, Minnesota and Corpus Christi, Texas.

* Flint Hill Resources LP, is a major refining and chemicals company based in Wichita, Kansas. It sells products such as gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, ethanol, polymers, intermediate chemicals, base oils and asphalt. It operates oil refineries in six states. Flint Hill has chemical plants in Illinois, Texas and Michigan. The firm is also a major manufacturer of asphalt used for paving and roofing applications. It operates 13 asphalt terminals located in six states including Alaska (2 terminals), Wisconsin (2), Iowa (3), Minnesota (4), Nebraska (1), and North Dakota(1). The firm manages the purchasing of domestic crude oil from Texas and Colorado offices, has four ethanol plants across Iowa, operates three refineries in Alaska, Texas, and Minnesota, and has a refinery terminal in Alaska. It also operates fuel terminals in Wisconsin (4 locations), Texas (6), and one each in Iowa and Minnesota.

* Koch Fertilizer, LLC, which is one of the world’s largest makers of nitrogen fertilizers. Koch Fertilizer owns or has interests in fertilizer plants the United States, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, and Italy, among others.In October 2010, a plant in Venezuela was nationalized by the government.

* Koch Agricultural Company's Matador Cattle Company division operates three ranches totaling 425,000 acres located in Beaverhead, Montana, Matador, Texas and the Flint Hills of eastern Kansas. There are more than 15,000 head of cattle raised on the ranches. (Source)

Geenen's complaints stem from the fact that the Kochs have money and choose to use it to advance a political agenda they happen to believe in.

OMG, what a crime!!!

By now anyone who had not yet heard of the Koch brothers has been introduced to them. Every major newspaper and magazine has run an article about the brothers who until recently lived largely under the radar while advancing a political vision via political action committees and think tanks funded by their fortunes.

Key words there... Their fortunes.

If consumers pick alternate products (because people will still use toilet paper), in many cases, the substitute will be from a company with a track record that is much less friendly to the values of the workers who would, as a result of the boycott, become the collateral damage. The Koch brothers’ lifestyle will not dramatically change; there are no shareholders that will become concerned; the company is privately owned. The stock won’t plummet either — there is none.

Emphasis, again, mine.

So, we have established Koch Industries employs masses, manufactures and provides jobs right here in America, continues to expand their vast holdings, wealth and businesses and American workers, even union workers are benefiting.

I repeat- Geenen's complaint seems to be that the Koch brothers use their fortune to help advance their own political beliefs.

To be sure, I personally have grave concerns about the agenda and influence being wielded by private wealth into our political system. Who doesn’t? I too agree that the Koch brothers are an ideal example of a very broken system. They undoubtedly know that many see them as pariahs, and undoubtedly they don’t care — no more than I care if someone attaches a label to me for my political views.

Who doesn't?

*raises hand here*

I don't.

If a person has money and chooses to fund organizations, think tanks, political action groups or anything their heart desires in order to help a cause or agenda they believe in, as long as they aren't receiving tax payer money and/or bailouts from our government, and it is their own money they are spending... more power to them.

Liberal or conservative. I don't really give a damn. It is their money, they can use it the way they want to and should be applauded for doing so. Applauded for being willing to put their money where their mouths are.

Amazingly enough, the hypocrites on the left do not complain when it is a liberal billionaire donating and working toward furthering liberal goals, example George Soros, just to name one in a long list.

No, they complain and actively work against anyone that dares spend their own money to further goals more aligned with conservatism.

Liberal billionaires that use the system to help liberal politicians are icons and idolized in progressives' minds, but the conservative wealthy that do the same are some sort of monsters because those goals do not match the ideology of a liberal.

I, for one, would like to thank David H. Koch and Charles G. Koch for providing and creating jobs right here in America. I would like to thank them for continuing to manufacture products here in America. I would like to thank them for using their considerable fortune to help further a conservative agenda that I believe is good for America.

H/T allahpundit@Twitter