Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right, by Jane Mayer

Find in catalogCan’t recommend this book highly enough. Extremely well researched, it begins with the Koch family whose fortune was started decades ago building oil refineries in Russia and Germany. Two brothers in the contentious family partnered in promoting libertarian views to the extreme of believing that the only purpose government has to exist is to protect property rights and business holdings. My impression was that extreme views include no taxes for schools, definitely no workers’ rights unions, and a desire to do away with most government departments/agencies. Of course, Social Security is a bad thing! This book details decades of the establishing of hundreds of think tanks and institutes (that are tax-deductible to contribute to due to classification as charitable/educational), even at universities, with helpful sounding names such as National Right to Work Committee, Public Engagement Group Trust, Common Sense Issues, Inc., U.S. Health Freedom Coalition, etc., that basically teach the desirability of dismantling government as we know it. Contrary to public opinion, the Tea Party uprising was not a spontaneous people-led movement but was orchestrated for decades and was named by longtime associates of the Kochs who ran an organization called the Sam Adams Alliance. The book ends on the sad note that the Kochs were planning to spend on the current 2016 presidential election almost 90% of what each of the Democrat and Republican parties were planning to spend (a billion each). There are decades worth of reasons the US Congress is unable to do much; so many new placeholders in congress don’t believe in government at all and are determined to prove it.

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