It’s always entertaining to see a couple of billionaire plutocrats like the Koch boys get an embarrassing case of political hiccups.
Such is their fate as a result of trying to grab total control of the Cato Institute, a right-wing think tank that brother Charles set up in 1974. Both Charles and David already sit on this outfit’s five-member governing committee, but now they’re suing it, demanding a third seat. Amazingly, this power grab has turned Cato into a subject of media sympathy – a little “David” think-tank whose political purity is endangered by the rapacious Koch-headed Goliath. There’s even a “Save Cato” website.
Before shedding tears and sending donations, however, let’s refresh our memory on what they want to save. As a recent piece in the “Counter Punch” newsletter succinctly pointed out, Cato is a corporate-funded front that fabricates faux intellectual rationales for turning America into a government-free, plutocratic utopia run by the corporate elite.
“In a free society,” wrote one Catonian, “there should be no minimum wage law.” Another opined that “Collective bargaining violates workers’ civil liberties.” Also, in the brave new world of Cato-Think there would be no national efforts to assure adequate nutrition for poverty-stricken children, because such problems “are properly local and private functions.”
And let’s not forget that Cato is the ideological home of the “Privatize Social Security” crusade. Thirty years ago, the Cato Journal called for a longterm PR campaign to discredit our successful public pension program and to “construct a coalition” againsts social security among “the banks, insurance companies, and other institutions” that would profit from privatizing it.
Saving Cato from the Koch brothers is one thing, but it’s more important to save America from Cato.
National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be – consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks. Twice elected Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Hightower believes that the true political spectrum is not right to left but top to bottom, and he has become a leading national voice for the 80 percent of the public who no longer find themselves within shouting distance of the Washington and Wall Street powers at the top. He publishes a populist political newsletter, “The Hightower Lowdown.” He is a New York Times best-selling author, and has written seven books including, Thieves In High Places: They’ve Stolen Our Country And It’s Time To Take It Back; If the Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates; and There’s Nothing In the Middle Of the Road But Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos. His newspaper column is distributed nationally by Creators Syndicate.
This piece was first published on Jim Hightower’s website.