Progressive Groups Say Koch Brothers are Attacking Rhode Island
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Activists, union leaders and concerned citizens took to Kennedy Plaza Monday to warn that a national agenda put forth by billionaires Charles and David Koch will set the country – and Rhode Island – back if voters don’t rise to the challenge this November.
At a rally attended by roughly 30 Rhode Islanders, a group known as Patriot Majority explained what it calls the Koch brothers’ “greed agenda,” which includes advocating for tax breaks for the extraordinarily wealthy while cutting social programs.
The goal was to exploit to the Koch brothers and other special interest groups who have suggested they may spend nearly a half billion dollars this election season in an effort to elect conservative candidates to office. While the groups haven’t spent money in Rhode Island, Ocean State Action executive director Kate Brock said their agenda has gotten through to many members of the General Assembly, most notably through the implementation of the state’s voter id law.
Brock implored voters to take action against the special interests.
“If the Koch brothers and their special interest friends are successful, pay equity for women would end, workers would go without a minimum wage or even basic protections and Medicare and Social would be a thing of the past,” she said.
The Koch brothers are among the largest funders of Americans for Prosperity, the nonprofit group that has spent millions of dollars influencing the political spectrum in recent years. Critics say the group supported a House budget that would turn Medicare into a voucher system and raise the eligibility age.
According to Patriot Majority, which is touring the country to exploit the Koch brothers’ efforts, the “greed agenda” includes giving tax breaks to the extremely wealthy; privatizing Social Security and Medicare; supporting voter id laws; cutting funding for public schools; rolling back regulations on big banks; lowering wages for middle class families; eliminating workers’ rights’ blocking pay equity for women; supporting the rich oil companies; privatizing firefighting and other public services; cutting funding to veterans; and protecting special interest polluters.
Patriot Majority has been traveling throughout the country since August in what it calls an attempt to educate voters about right wing groups supported by wealthy backers like the Koch brothers. National Education Association official Patrick Crowley called the Koch brothers a “unique threat to Rhode Island and to America.”
“Not only have they promised to contribute hundreds of millions of dollars to influence this election, but those dollars are in service of an agenda characterized by greed and a stunning disregard for the well-being of our nation,” he said.
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