It’s been a bad few weeks for billionaire oligarch and libertarian ideologue Charles Koch.
On Monday, the journalist Judd Legum broke the news that Koch’s multinational corporation Koch Industries is continuing to do business in Russia, even after hundreds of other companies have left the country over its attacks on Ukraine.
Yesterday, the corporation defended its stance with awkward reasoning: “We will not walk away from our employees there or hand over these manufacturing facilities to the Russian government so it can operate and benefit from them.”
But last week was really a doozy for Koch—and his fellow oligarch, Jeff Bezos.
Congress passed legislation to shore up the U.S. Postal Service’s finances, sending the bill to President Biden to sign into law. What does this have to do with Koch? He’s been trying to weaken and ultimately privatize the agency since the 1970s.
The bill ensures mail is delivered six days a week, allows post offices to issue social security cards and hunting and fishing licenses, and more. But most importantly, it ends a requirement for the agency to pre-fund the health care of its future retirees, something private corporations and other federal agencies do not face.
You read that right. America’s favorite federal agency has to finance workers’ benefits ahead of time for the next 75 years. Not because it makes sense to do so—because in 2006 a Republican-controlled Congress wanted to “reform” the agency.
At the time, no one outright said they wanted to financially kneecap the Postal Service to set it up to be privatized and sold off to Amazon, FedEx, and UPS for parts. But it’s hard to imagine another reason for such a bizarre requirement—especially since Koch and others have been trying to kill the agency for decades.
That’s a big reason why the Postal Service—which receives very little funding from Congress—is expected to run out of money by 2024. And why it’s been slowing down mail delivery recently to save cash.
So, Koch’s bad news is our good news. The new legislation isn’t perfect, but it will guarantee for now that all Americans will still get their letters, bills, prescriptions, and mail-in ballots in a timely fashion—even at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. (Yes, mail is delivered by mule there six days a week.)
And while we’re at it, let’s try to add even more bad news for Koch. The Postal Service, under the leadership of Trump appointee Louis DeJoy, recently finalized plans to purchase up to 148,000 mail trucks from Oshkosh Defense, 90 percent of them powered by gas engines expected to get 8 miles per gallon—which counters a request from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for electric vehicles.
Koch Industries owns and operates a number of companies involved in oil and gas refining and distribution. More electric vehicles on the road would be bad for business.
Luckily, there’s another bill just introduced in Congress requiring that at least 75 percent of those new trucks be electric vehicles. You can sign the petition to support it here.
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Photo by André-Pierre du Plessis.