Thursday, August 07, 2014

A Koch op-ed that USA Today should have fact-checked, but didn't

Government policies such as Obamacare have given businesses a powerful incentive to hire two part-time people to do one full-time job. — Charles Koch

Michael Hiltzik, LA Times

Charles Koch's USA Today op-ed is full of questionable numbers — why wasn't it fact-checked?

Ever solicitous of underprivileged people who have no other way to get their voices heard, USA Today turned over some of its precious op-ed space Wednesday to billionaire Charles Koch, so he might offer his views on "how to really turn the economy around."

Koch is chairman and CEO of Koch Industries and a leading libertarian financier, so his prescription is about what you'd expect. It includes cutting regulations, eliminating programs like the Affordable Care Act, and paring back food stamps, which he includes among the "costly programs...paying people not to work." (His citation for this description of the food stamp program links to a publication of the Heritage Foundation, which has received funding from Koch family foundations. This is undisclosed in the USA Today article.)

Koch backs up his claims with statistics that aren't what they seem and studies from a couple of other scholarly institutions, such as the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, which also have financial ties to Koch. These are undisclosed in the USA Today article.

Koch even suggests that his world view resembles that of Martin Luther King. That's audacious, to say the least, but we'll have to let the ghost of Dr. King take that up with him directly, at the appropriate juncture.

(More here.)

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