David Koch is dead.
The billionaire died this week at age 79 of causes yet unknown. While he certainly enjoyed the fruits of his labors to deregulate U.S. industry and reduce taxes on the super-wealthy like himself, he will never have to experience the consequences of his biggest achievement: putting the entire planet on the brink of crisis in the service of enriching himself and a few other fossil fuel billionaires. And we, the people and future generations who are going to live with the fallout, will never see him or the small cadre of wealthy conservatives who funded decades of climate denial face any form of justice.
Koch’s death was first reported by the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer Friday morning and confirmed by his surviving brother, Charles, shortly thereafter. The two brothers were tied as the 11th richest people on the planet on the Forbes 100, with an estimated net worth of $50.5 billion each. They amassed so much wealth in part through business savvy—you likely don’t go a day without coming in contact with something made by some subsidiary of their privately owned Koch Industries conglomerate—and in part because they spent a comparative pittance of that fortune on turning our political system into a fucking nightmare. Funding astroturf groups like Americans for Prosperity and conservative politicians has led to widespread deregulation and huge tax breaks for their businesses, allowing them to take an even bigger share of the pie. [Continue reading…]