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Koch, Soros, And False Equivalency

Whenever the mention of the Koch family and their influence on politics comes up, it is inevitable that someone on the other side brings up the name of George Soros, proclaiming him as no different.

Koch, a family of privelage and advantage.

Harry Koch came to the United States as part of the Dutch banking backed railroad boom in Texas during the 1880’s, and quickly established himself by purchasing one of the newspapers in the small town of Quanah, Tx, which today is called the Tribune-Chief. Checking the archives of this paper, you can find arguments against Social Security, minimum wage, unions, even attempts to label the right to vote as “Mobocracy” and that the right to vote was against the Founding Fathers intent for America. He became a large investor in a railroad firm, using his newspaper to undermine the anti-trust and anti-monopoly attacks against the corporate giants appearing throughout the nation. He made the case that large monopolies were in the best interest of the people, that they would be benevolent benefactors.

Harry’s son, Fred, expanded upon his fathers mantra, becoming an oil and chemical magnate. He also began funneling portions of his amassed fortune into a new concept, the political advocacy group. One of the more notable of these being the John Birch Society.

In total, adjusted to todays dollars the amount invested in right-wing causes, from the newspapers to the societies as well as think tanks such as the Cato Institute and Heritage Foundation, the amount put into such effort comes to over $50 billion over the past 130 years.

Soros, the orphaned child of holocaust victims.

George Soros was born in 1930 Hungary, the child of a Jewish family. He survived the Holocaust, and became a stockbroker and trader. He came with his family fortune gone, and built himself up from the ashes, literally.

Soros did not begin his philanthropic ventures or his political activities until the 1970’s, when he began financing anti-apartheid groups in South Africa as well as anti-Communist groups behind the iron curtain. He founded such groups as the Open Society Institute. His wealth is estimated at about $8 billion.

Yet, somehow, Soros has, with his $8 billion, come to parity against the Koch family, now in their 3rd and 4th generation of political punditry. Even in terms of total value, each of the two elder Koch brothers, David and Charles, individually is worth 150% what Soros is worth. Together, they absolutely crush his net worth. Add in their other two brothers as well as cousins, Soros is a minor player.

In time, the Soros family may come to rival the Koch family.

If we were talking about Soros’ grandchildren, instead of the elder Soros, and they had personal values in excess of $100 billion, then we can discuss any possibility of parity between the two. Soros is, at his best, on par with Harry Koch, the founder of the dynasty, and for many of the same reasons, an immigrant who built his fortune by trading and dealing. He has a 90 year disadvantage for political favors and punditry by comparison.

This is easily seen when you compare the amount of influence over multiple organizations each groups holds.

The Koch family has financial ties as displayed here:

For comparison, here is Soros’ political financial dealings:

130 years of networking against 40. Yet, those who benefit from the Koch family fortune would claim that the latter is comparable to the former, that they are equal even as they are opposite. Even a simple glance at the different level of connections reveals this to be false.

Today’s reality vs right-wing fantasy.

There are generations of families which owe their political fortunes to the Koch family, from Harry’s endorsement of Prescott Bush for Senate to David’s financing of James Inholfe of Oklahoma for his Congressional run. No such generational status exists for Soros, nor will there be for many years to come, if ever.

The Koch family controls the second largest privately owned corporation in the United States, while Soros controls the Soros Fund Management, a small investment group with assets less than 1% that of any of the top-10 investment groups in the US.

Dutch American Entrepeneurs, Chapter 10

Meet the Koch Brothers’ Wealthy Right-Wing Grandfather: How His Pro-Corporate Agenda Is Echoed by the Kochs’ Assault on Our Democracy

Capital Rivals: Koch Brothers vs. George Soros

Empire Building