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There but for fortune

About a week ago I watched a Sunday Morning lead story I had taped on a whim. It aired on Dec. 22. The story is about counterfeiting wines. Back in the day, I knew quite a bit about wine so I was interested. You can see it here: (It did not play when I used Safari, but did fine with Chrome.  Also, you have to watch a commercial because it’s CBS.)

The story centers on Bill Koch, the younger Koch — His older brothers spend millions to promote and elect very conservative politicians.

To say that Koch the Younger is a wine aficionado understates the case. He has collected 40,000 bottles. He was swindled by a couple people and the story tells how he was bilked, who did it, how much it cost and how pissed Koch is — spending millions to seek revenge, yada yada yada, breaks my heart.

As you watch this video, take note of the priceless art in his Palm Beach House, the fact that he has all this billionaire stuff scattered over who knows how many homes. Check out the freaking wine cellar. Take a good gander at the old wine bottles supposedly issued by Thomas Jefferson. Koch the Younger makes Croesus seem a pauper.

Then you can consider the real story not told in this video. The man is an American who lives among more than 40 million fellow citizens who use and need food stamps. Some 1.3 million of Koch the Younger’s fellow Americans lost their jobless benefits this month because some members of Congress think they’re just shiftless sonsabitches and need a prod to get to work.

Since 1979, the top 1 percent wage earners in the U.S. saw their income increase 256 percent. At the same time, the tax on that income dropped from about 75 percent to less than 40 percent. These numbers come from the book, “Winner Take All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer — And Turned Its Back on the Middle Class” by Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson. They are political scientists, Hacker at Yale, Pierson at Cal Berkeley. You can watch a Moyers interview with them here

In any event, that Koch video made me wonder. Then it made me kind of sick as I tried to remember the lyrics to “There But For Fortune.”


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