Charles Koch hit back at criticism of “the Koch brothers” during President Barack Obama’s energy speech in Las Vegas earlier this week, saying he was “flabbergasted” by the attack and charging that Obama made the dig as a favor to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who appeared with him.
“It’s beneath the president, the dignity of the president, to be doing that,” Koch said during a phone interview Tuesday…
That’s not the American way. That’s not progress. That’s not innovation. That’s rent seeking, and trying to protect old ways of doing business and standing in the way of the future.”
Obama continued: “I mean, think about this. Ordinarily, these are groups that tout themselves as champions of the free market. If you start talking to them about providing health care for folks who don’t have health insurance, they’re going crazy: ‘This is socialism, this is going to destroy America.’ But in this situation, they’re trying to undermine competition in the marketplace, and choke off consumer choice, and threaten an industry that’s churning out new jobs at a fast pace.”
Koch shot back: “I don’t know whether he knows what that phrase means, but ‘rent seeking,’ of course, is, in economic terms, is getting the government to rig the system in your favor. And that’s exactly what these so-called ‘renewable energy’ proponents are doing.”
I’m guessing that Obama, who taught at the University of Chicago, is familiar with the term “rent-seeking.”