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Who are the Koch brothers and what do they want?

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Today, the mainstream view of the Republican Party, as seen in the recently passed Ryan budget, is to end Medicare as we know it, cut Medicaid by more than $1.5 trillion over the next decade, and repeal the Affordable Care Act.  According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, "Under the Ryan plan, at least 40 million people -- 1 in 8 Americans -- would lose health insurance or fail to obtain insurance by 2024. Most of them would be people with low or moderate incomes."

In 1980, the platform of David Koch's Libertarian Party called for "the repeal of the fraudulent, virtually bankrupt, and increasingly oppressive Social Security system."  34 years ago, that was an extreme view of a fringe party that had the support of one percent of the American people.

Today, the mainstream view of the Republican Party is that "entitlement reform" is absolutely necessary.  For some, this means major cuts in Social Security.  For others who believe Social Security is unconstitutional or a Ponzi scheme this means the privatization of Social Security or abolishing this program completely for those who are under 60 years of age.

In 1980, David Koch's Libertarian Party platform stated "We oppose all personal and corporate income taxation, including capital gains taxes " We support the eventual repeal of all taxation " As an interim measure, all criminal and civil sanctions against tax evasion should be terminated immediately."  34 years ago, that was an extreme view of a fringe party that had the support of one percent of the American people.

Today, 75 Republicans in the House have co-sponsored a bill that Paul Ryan has said "would eliminate taxes on wages, corporations, self-employment, capital gains, and gift and death taxes in favor of a personal-consumption tax."

Here is what every American should be deeply concerned about.  The Koch brothers, through the expenditure of billions of dollars and the creation and support of dozens of extreme right organizations, have taken fringe extremist ideas and made them mainstream within the Republican Party.  And now with Citizens United (which is allowing them to pour unlimited sums of money into the political process) their power is greater than ever.
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And let's be very clear.  Their goal is not only to defund Obamacare, cut Social Security, oppose an increase in the minimum wage or cut federal funding for education.  Their world view and eventual goal is much greater than all of that.  They want to repeal every major piece of legislation that has been signed into law over the past 80 years that has protected the middle class, the elderly, the children, the sick, and the most vulnerable in this country.  Every piece of legislation!

The truth is that the agenda of the Koch brothers is to move this country from a democratic society with a strong middle class to an oligarchic form of society in which the economic and political life of the nation are controlled by a handful of billionaire families.

Our great nation must not be hijacked by right-wing billionaires like the Koch brothers.

For the sake of our children and our grandchildren, we must fight back.

Sincerely,
Bernie Sanders
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Bernie Sanders is the independent U.S. Senator from Vermont. He is the longest serving independent member of Congress in American history. He is a member of the Senate's Budget, Veterans, Environment, Energy, and H.E.L.P. (Health, Education, (more...)
 

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