David and Charles Koch, co-owners of Koch Industries and primary financiers of the Tea Party, have amassed one of the world’s largest private fortunes and Koch Industries is the second largest privately held company in America. Koch sycophants in the media have attacked anyone daring to criticize the company because Koch Industries employs nearly 50,000 people, according to a study produced by Koch Industries last week. In the last two years, David and Charles Koch have jumped from each being worth $16 billion to now being worth $21.5 billion. That means together they went from being worth $31 billion dollars to being worth $42 billion today. David is now the richest man in New York City, and the pair are now on the nation’s top ten list for richest Americans.
However, at a time when the Koch brothers were enjoying spectacular financial gains, Koch Industries laid off well over 2,000 people. Using the same approximate “jobs multiplier” Koch Industries used in its study last week, that means Koch Industries extinguished nearly 8,000 jobs in recent years:
- – Koch’s John Zink Company subsidiary laid off 63 people in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
- – Koch’s Georgia Pacific subsidiary laid off 118 people at its Roxboro, North Carolina plant.
- – Koch laid off 50 people at its INVISTA plant in Wilmington, Delaware.
- – Koch’s Georgia Pacific subsidiary laid off 158 people at a paper-making plant in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Most of the jobs have been replaced with automated machines.
- – Koch’s INVISTA subsidiary laid off 50 people at its plant in Athens, Georgia.
- – Koch laid off 150 people at its headquarters in Wichita, Kansas.
- – Koch laid off 500 people at its Seaford, Delaware INVISTA plant.
- – Koch laid off 400 people in its Waynesboro, Indiana INVISTA plant. As one of the primary employers in the city, the layoffs were expected to have serious ripple effects. City officials said layoffs at Invista will “force cuts across Waynesboro.” “The rest of the community, this will probably instill a bit of a wake-up call and they will cut back also,” predicted Waynesboro Vice Mayor Frank Lucente.
- – Koch laid off 320 people at its Georgia Pacific plywood plant in Cleveland, Texas.
- – Koch laid off 60 people at its INVISTA plant in Victoria, Texas.
- – Koch laid off 169 people from its Flint Hills Resources plant in Odessa, Texas.
- – Koch laid off 300 people at its Georgia Pacific plant in Monroeville, Alabama.
- – Koch “indefinitely” idled its 60-worker Georgia Pacific mill in Louisville, Mississippi.
The Koch downsizing isn’t limited to the United States. In England, Koch laid off workers at its chemical plant in Wilton, England and closed down its INVISTA plant in Offenbach, Germany.
Koch Industries pretends that it thrives from the “free market,” and that the government only inhibits its growth. But in reality, as Koch slashed jobs, the company exploited government contracts, public forests, public land, narrow corporate loopholes, eminent domain seizures of private land, and has demanded taxpayer bailouts for its refineries.
Moreover, while Koch Industries has interests in a number of different businesses, much of its money is made by simply polluting for free. The core of Koch’s immense profits are based on burning fossil fuels that contribute to climate change, while not paying a dime for these “externalities.” For instance, Koch refines oil, including high carbon Canadian crude, at its Minnesota refinery, Koch owns one of the largest oil pipeline networks in America, Koch manufacturers fertilizer, Koch sells products for mining coal and owns coal-burning power plants, Koch transports coal, oil and natural gas, and finally, Koch sells financial derivative instruments to bet on the price of its own products, like oil or natural gas. Because Koch Industries gets rich burning fossil fuels, the Koch brothers are the largest funders of climate change denying organizations and “libertarian” nonprofits in the world. Koch political donations have helped the company escape serious prosecution for emitting cancer-causing chemicals as well.