How the 10 Richest in the US Made Their Billions
-- Posted By David DeGraw on Monday, June 8th, 2009 at 12:32 pm, Filed under Economy, News . Follow post comments through the RSS 2.0 feed. Click here to comment, or trackback.
By Adam Turl, Socialist Worker
Back in February–when even the mainstream media was convinced the capitalist economy was in full-blown meltdown mode–Newsweek magazine ran an article titled “Why there won’t be a revolution.” Newsweek wanted to reassure the rich–and convince working people–that the masses weren’t getting ready to dust off their pitchforks and head to the town square.
“Americans might get angry sometimes,” they wrote, “but we don’t hate the rich. We prefer to laugh at them.”
Newsweek couldn’t be more wrong. The 10 percent of Americans who rely on food stamps, the 25 percent of Ohioans who are waiting in lines at food banks, the 500,000 people who lost their jobs last month and the millions more who can’t find work–these people aren’t laughing.
And plenty of Americans–rightly–hate the rich. While our homes go into foreclosure, while our credit card rates go up, while our jobs disappear and college tuition shoots up, the well-heeled “masters of the universe” on Wall Street are still making out like bandits, but now with hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer money, courtesy of the Obama administration.
A lot more people would be even angrier if the mainstream media reported the truth about the rich and powerful in America–who they are and how they “made it” to the top. Consider the 10 richest people in the country as of last September, according to the annual Forbes magazine list.
The Koch Brothers
Charles Koch ($19 billion) and David Koch ($19 billion)
Studies show that the most likely job of any child is that of their parents. If your mom or dad is a janitor, you’re more likely to be a janitor than anything else, according to the statistics.
Charles and David Koch are no exception to the rule–only much luckier. Like their father, Fred Koch, they run the largest privately owned energy company in the U.S. Koch Industries–with annual revenues nearing $100 billion–is also one of the biggest polluters in history.
Fred founded Koch Industries in 1940, and during the Second World War, he made a bundle helping the USSR’s ruler Joseph Stalin build up an energy infrastructure in his country. After the war, however, Fred “saw the light” and became one of the founders of the right-wing anti-Communist John Birch Society, which helped whip up a hysteria during the McCarthyite witch-hunts of the 1950s.
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