As the era of Obama has unfolded, the left has found no greater political villains to represent the super-rich GOP string-pullers than brothers Charles and David Koch of Koch Industries, the second-largest privately-owned company in America. They were even used as the real-life focus of an episode of the fictional Newsroom series on HBO, on which the news anchor details the real-life connections they had to the rise of the Tea Party.
One of the Koch brothers’ political enterprises is Americans for Prosperity, who were extremely vocal about the perils of the Farm Bill that the President plans to sign Friday. A key component of the deal was an $8 billion cut in SNAP benefits or food stamps.
According to The Nation, AFP “claimed the Farm Bill serves ‘special interests and powerful corporations’ over the taxpayers.” Yet, the bill as it will appear in the Oval Office actually benefits a number of Koch Industries’ interests.
For example, there is an $881 million spending program for biomass energy, a program which according to The Nation, “Koch Industries’ timber subsidiary Georgia-Pacific has used to extract government subsidies.” Lobbying reports from Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC show that along with lobbying they planned to “[m]onitor Farm Bill progress and energy/program subsidies.”
Also benefitting the Georgia-Pacific operation is an exemption for pollution from logging operations from the Clean Water Act. Damage to roads and waterways from forestry operations will not be considered industrial pollution, effectively tying the EPA’s hands. Essentially this means that the Georgia-Pacific will likely draw in a significant amount of government subsidy.
Ironic considering how vehemently the GOP went after the subsidies to the hungry. Families using SNAP benefits are likely to see their monthly food budget drop by around $90. However, advocates for the poor cannot hope to match the lobbying power of the Koch brothers.