40 Saloons and The Koch Rule

There are hundreds of intelligent people here, and there is practically no recreation for them outside of the city’s forty saloons. I know a library would do more for this city than all of its churches put together. The children especially need something to occupy their minds which is away from the evil influences of the streets.”
— H. C. Garrott, Publisher, Eveleth Mining News

Recently, the big news surrounds the citizen protests over an inequitable tax system whereby corporations pay little while workers and consumers suffer and the income gap widens between the have-nots, the haves and the have-mores.
The basis may be the same as the “cottage cheese” protests that Erik Paulsen (R-MN-03) witnessed during his lobbyist-paid trip to Israel, while in America, Eric Cantor (R-VA-07) offered a different assessment : “I, for one, am increasingly concerned about the growing mobs occupying Wall Street and the other cities across the country,” Cantor said. “Believe it or not, some in this town have actually condoned the pitting of Americans against Americans.”

In the backdrop of these protests is a swirling of anger addressed at Warren Buffet … his sin … offering an opinion that we should Stop Coddling the Super-Rich
… and Republicans in Congress have their own ideas
… Steve Scalise, (R-LA-01) has introduced legislation, HR 3099 “Buffett Rule Act“, which would require the IRS to create a new line on people’s tax forms to let rich taxpayers pay extra to help pay down the debt. “If Warren Buffet truly feels that he’s not paying enough in taxes, he doesn’t need a change in law to put his money where his mouth is, he can send his check for a larger amount to the treasury today,” Scalise said.
Rep. John Campbell (R-CA-48) has also offered HR 1541Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is” Act

Gosh … will we ever get along ?
Protests in the streets and charges of class warfare surely won’t make a better America place for anyone.

I yearn for the days of Andrew Carnegie when the wealthy assumed, and enjoyed, more responsibility.

Andrew Carnegie was a “rags to riches” story of an immigrant who became the richest man in the world and a true altruist. Mr. Carnegie erected libraries near his Pennsylvania steel mills with the intent that the libraries would be used by employees. More than just libraries, these were expansive buildings … complete with gymnasiums, art galleries, music hall, and possibly a swimming pool or bowling alley.
In 1891, Iowa’s Republican Senator James Falconer Wilson approached Pittsburgh-based Andrew Carnegie to request Mr. Carnegie’s help in a building a permanent library in an Iowa town. With Mr. Carnegie’s donation of $30,000, the library was constructed in 1893 and named the Jefferson County Library. That library was first of hundreds of Carnegie-funded libraries to over the next decades.
The quote listed above is from an application letter written by the newspaper publisher on April 1st, 1903 requesting funds for a library in the city of Eveleth. Mr. Carnegie awarded $15,000 for that library … I have never been to Eveleth but I understand that the library still stands, but I am unsure how many saloons are currently operating there.
In total, Mr. Carnegie provided funding for 1,689 libraries (cost $41,748,689) including 66 in Minnesota of which 48 are still standing today. The deal was pretty simple … a community had to demonstrate a need, provide a building site and books, and promise to maintain the building with annual funds of at least 10 % of the grant amount.
A great deal for the community and a lasting tribute to the man.

Admittedly, there are some wealthy folks that provide funds for the world’s advancement. Mr. Buffet and Bill and Melinda Gates have supported some worthy causes.
In Minnesota, Glen Taylor comes to mind. Mr. Taylor may have spent some time in the Minnesota Legislature including a stint as the Republican Minority Leader, but to the Mankato area, he is a lot more. The North Mankato Library would not have been possible without Glen Taylor’s support … nor the CADA House (for domestic abuse victims) … nor many of the buildings on Minnesota State University – Mankato’s campus. Those are pretty visible examples … but Minnesotans did not see Mr. Taylor invite his family for a “vacation” — to Guatemala in 2006 to help build schools (yep, physical work … not just writing a check.)

There truly are some good people that obviously, they recognize that their fortunes can do so much good.

Today building a library may not be at the top of list of American needs, but obviously there are plenty of construction workers in need of projects … a recent report revealed that 1,149 Minnesota bridges are categorized as “Structurally Deficient”. The federal gasoline tax has not been raised in over a decade and vehicles are more fuel efficient, … so where will we get the monies ?
As Senator Al Franken (D-MN) observes : “Minnesota has so many men and women in construction who are on the bench—and have been for a long time—and so many projects in need of their skills. We should get them back to work rebuilding roads and bridges across the state that are in need of repair. While we’re going to have to make some big cuts in our spending, we shouldn’t cut the things we know will help our economy get back on its feet. Investing in infrastructure is a great way to grow our economy, put people back to work, and take care of much-needed work on our state’s roads and bridges.”

Gosh, it makes you think … is there a family who has a business in Minnesota with a vested interest in keeping our state growing … and thus, to continue to support its business, … yep that could produce a win-win situation.

Wait a second … Flint Hills Resources in Rosemount … they are a privately owned company … the owners could turn make a real statement about themselves by becoming “Carnegie-like”.
Somehow, I think that if people recognized that although the family fortunes were being spent to protest “increased taxes on the rich”, the family was also establishing “bridge” grants program … that’s right, would you have a problem driving over a newly re-built bridge with a sign that said “This Construction Project was paid for by the Koch Brothers” … much like when people look at the plaque inside the Eveleth Public Library (“Andrew Carnegie Donated Fifteen Thousand Dollars Toward The Erection Of This Building 1914”) … it promotes such good vibes for Mr. Carnegie – think how the Koch image would improve dramatically !

Let’s call it the Koch Rule … donate monies for public projects, and you will be recognized … it’s a win-win situation. Workers get jobs, citizens get safe roadways, taxes are not raised … “mobs” go away happy.

Memo to John Kline (R-MN-02) since Rosemount is in your district and you are a recipient of Koch Family monies, how about suggesting the Koch Rule.

Memo to Raymond Cravaack (R-MN-08) since Georgia-Pacific Wood Products LLC has a plant in Duluth and The C. Reiss Coal Company also operates out of your district, you too can suggest the Koch Rule when accepting your next campaign contribution.

Memo to Erik Paulsen (R-MN-03) when it’s time to fill the ICE PAC, remember the dollars that the Koch Brothers have sent your way and ask if they would like a “sponsor” a bridge instead.

Memo to Eric Cantor (R-VA-07), let’s address that “pitting of Americans against Americans” by asking the Koch Family to “help-out” working Americans … and will give’em a plaque and our eternal thanks.

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