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Here's a statement of the obvious: The opinions expressed here are those of the participants, not those of the Mutual Fund Observer. We cannot vouch for the accuracy or appropriateness of any of it, though we do encourage civility and good humor.

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R.I.P. David Koch

FYI: David Koch, the billionaire libertarian who gave more than $1 billion to charitable causes but was better known for using his money to reshape U.S. politics, has died.


  • edited August 2019
    Perhaps I am naive but I was surprised for the overwhelming number of nasty comments associated with hid death in the Obituary articles. RIM for" rest in misery' was common. Maybe if his will makes more donations to charity then to conservative causes the comments will be better
  • Jerry, his will makes more donations - not anymore. I hope his kids continue the tradition. GOP needs donors like him.
  • an overwhelmingly destructive influence
  • +1 davidrmoran. That was the polite way to make the point. Well stated.
  • tnx

    One does not want to post RIM here, where there might even be Koch defenders
  • literally destructive:

    I wonder how many here, attempting to accumulate wealth for selves and future, have grandchildren.
  • Bankrolled the tea party movement and climate change denier. And no doubt funded candidates even worse. Quite a legacy...
  • I invite you to join me in not missing David Koch. At all.
  • +1 Crash
  • In the abstract I might say I should not point the finger at Koch and his ilk, but I do feel as though they are greatly to blame for the polarization we now witness daily. I am far more extreme in my views than pre-2016 and I'm not mellowing at all. I recall being somewhat bemused at the WSJ editorial massacres on the Clintons; I retained my subscription and contented myself with being well informed about both sides of issues. Nowadays my sense of outrage knows little bounds. Reading that Koch's media machine was behind the scurrilous attacks on the Obamas (see Jane Mayer's New Yorker articles) and that his money was used to high jack the processes for selecting federal judges my previous New England stoicism has given way to a biliousness I'm not proud of. David Koch and his brother have given self-interested capitalism a name I won't utter.
  • @MFO Members: "“He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone"
    (A Lot of people benefited from his donations)

    $185 million
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    $150 million
    Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

    $100 million
    New York-Presbyterian Hospital

    $100 million
    New York State Theater at Lincoln Center

    New York City Ballet.
    $66.7 million

    Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
    $65 million

    The Metropolitan Museum of Art
    $35 million

    Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History
    $15 million

    Museum of Natural History in DC.
    $26.5 million

    M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
    $26.2 million

    The Hospital for Special Surgery in New York
    $20 million

    American Museum of Natural History, New York
    $20 million

    Johns Hopkins University
    $10 million

  • as a 'tribute ' to the koch's read DARK MONEY by jane mayer ISBN 385535597
    it will provide insight into 'well spent' money across the government, education and culture.
    +1 BenWP
  • @Ted Yes, the Kochs have donated to some charitable causes, but so did the Sackler family, which bears a significant responsibility for the opiod crisis. I don't think the charities cancel out the bad behavior in this case--not by a long a shot. What is the sin for producing a product and spreading misinformation about it that experts now believe will kill 1 million species? There is no Hail Mary for that.
  • Charitable causes? Depends on how you look at the recipients and at the motivation.
    I’m all in favor of supporting fancy museums and elite schools, but face it: These aren’t really charities as most people understand the term. They’re often investments in the life-styles the wealthy already enjoy and want their children to have as well. Increasingly, being rich in America means not having to come across anyone who’s not.

    They’re also investments in prestige – especially if they result in the family name engraved on a new wing of an art museum, symphony hall, or ivied dorm.
    Robert Reich, Rich people's idea of charity: Giving to elite schools and operas

    Center for Public Integrity / Dave Levinthal , How the Koch Brothers Are Influencing U.S. Colleges
  • edited August 2019
    @MSF My feelings about charities and charitable giving are rather ambivalent, but I don't believe giving money to the American Museum of Natural History or the Metropolitan Musem of Art are bad things even if the rich intend to hobnob there at galas, etc. The reason is these museums offer a "pay what you want" entrance fee, allowing poorer citizens a chance to be inspired by great works of art and natural wonders:
    I also think it is precisely such "artsy" things local governments don't want to pay for, even though they can have great cultural, educational and spiritual value to some people. I would compare donating to these museums favorably to for instance a rich person buying a Picasso and locking it up in a vault somewhere or in their house where no one else can see it. That happens too. The opera on the other hand I do not believe offers free admission so I feel differently about it. Cancer hospitals I think are also worthwhile causes. My point is none of this giving cancels out the far greater harm this person has done to our planet. In fact, it is rather ironic that Koch was such a big donor to cancer research and hospitals because fossil fuels and pollution are major causes of that terrible disease. I also think the Sacklers' giving to museums doesn't cancel out the ravages of the opiod crisis in the U.S. today.
  • @Crash- I'm with you all the way on this one. But you already knew that, I'm sure.
  • @Old-Joe I wonder if you'd say that if it were you congresswoman, who is a millionaire
  • I agree that giving money to the top tier museums is not a bad thing. But let's face it - giving money to a specific recipient in exchange for publicity is not exactly high up on Maimonides' eight levels of charitable giving. At best what you've got is trickle down culture.

    Citing NYC museum admission policies, and the Met's in particular, was not the best example one might have come up with. The Met sits on public land; as a condition of that public gift, it is required to offer free admission. Until recently, "free" was interpreted as requiring at least a penny's payment from all visitors. But in early 2018, the Met started limiting "free" admission to only those visitors who could prove they were NYS residents. (Ironic that your link was to a tourist site.)

    MoMA and the Guggenheim suffer no such constraints. Consequently, they charge visitors full freight; no "pay what you want" policy for them.
    “We’re the only major art museum in the world that has recourse neither to mandatory admissions or significant government funding,” he said, pointing out that both the Smithsonian in Washington and the Louvre in Paris receive considerable public support. The Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim already charge $25 — though, unlike the Met, they are not in city-owned buildings nor supported by taxpayer dollars.

    To add to the matter of NYC, the Cooper Hewitt museum, a NYC branch of the usually free Smithsonian charges mandatory admission (except for three hours of "pay what you want" once a week). And the Met implemented the mandatory fee for out-of-towners in part because NYC had decided to spread its art dollars around more widely to enhance diversity. So NYC at least is not a local government unwilling to pay for "artsy" things. It's just more interested in supporting the arts more broadly than wealthy donors tend to do.
  • @Ted- Yes, she is. And so are a lot of other congresspeople. So are you. So am I. So what? It's not the money that's important- it's what you choose to do with it.
  • edited August 2019
    @MSF You're right that the ideal benefactor in Jewish tradition, although I'm not sure it's Maimonides who mentions this--is it?--gives anonymously so they get no ego-boost. Today's rich Americans are not like this for sure. (Oh wait, I see from your link it was Maimonides.) Yet there's also this:
    Public funding for the arts is always threatened by Republicans and sometimes Democrats who will often claim it's a waste of money. The NEA has been under threat by the GOP now for decades. New York is a very liberal city so I assume there will be funding earmarked for culture, but the U.S. is not New York. One could argue if the wealthy were taxed appropriately, there would be enough funding for the arts, although I have a feeling there would still be a claim that it was an "inefficient" use of public funds in many local governments. It is an unfortunate reality that museums today often need wealthy benefactors to keep them going. I am surprised and disappointed to hear that the Met has changed its policies. That wasn't my experience when I went there. MOMA has long charged an arm and a leg to get in though. Interestingly, Koch didn't give to MOMA. I could see him hating modern art and preferring classical portraits of kings and queens.
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