Do You Make $34,000 Per Year? Congratulations, the Koch Brothers Say You’re Part of The 1%

Charles Koch Image via Rolling Stone

Charles Koch
Image via Rolling Stone

First, let me clarify that this is not satire.  That being said, I still don’t think I’ve fully wrapped my mind around what I just watched, which prompted me to instantly stop what I was doing and write this.

It takes a lot to render me speechless, but that’s exactly what happened after I watched the Koch brothers’ newest commercial.

Or let’s call it what it really is—their new piece of propaganda.

In what I can only describe as something that would make an excellent Saturday Night Live skit (except this is a real commercial being broadcast) the Koch brothers claim that Americans making over $34,000 per year are part of the 1%.

Well, the 1% —of the world.

Oh–now I see.  If we compare those in the United States making at least $34,000 per year to say, you’re average Ethiopian, then they’re absolutely in the top 1%—as long as they lived in Ethiopia.

Again, this is not satire.  It’s a real commercial that compares the economic level of Americans making $34,000 per year to those that live in impoverished countries where the infant mortality rate is something like 50 for every 1,000 births—you know, like Haiti.

Now I’ve seen a lot of ridiculous things in my life.  Hell, I watched Sharknado, and even that wasn’t as ridiculous as watching this sixty-three second Koch brothers commercial.

This ad also takes a shot at health care, by claiming that industrialized countries like the United States lead the world in life expectancy and implying that more regulations put that in jeopardy of falling.  In effect, if we don’t stop regulating the unethical behavior of people like the Koch brothers—we’re all going to die at younger ages.

What they don’t mention is that every country that actually ranks in the top 10 for life expectancy has socialized health care—something else the Koch brothers strongly oppose.  Many of the other countries ranked ahead of the United States have socialized health care as well.

Oh, and the ad also doesn’t mention that American life expectancy is actually increasing, not falling.

By the way, the countries this “study” ranks ahead of the United States in many categories — countries like Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland and Chile — are all tiny when compared to the United States.  The comparisons are completely ridiculous.

But the truth is, this ad basically says, “Hey, look, for $34,000 you people would be living like kings in (insert name of developing country) so you should stop complaining.”

Which of course makes absolutely no sense.  To compare the low incomes of people living in the United States to the low (or impoverished) people living in poor nations is preposterous, and shows just how ignorant the Koch brothers think Republican voters are.  Because most Republicans who see this won’t think, “Wow, did they just say if we make $34,000 per year we’re rich—if we lived in Uganda?”

No, most will see this video and say, “Exactly!  Score one for capitalism!”  Not realizing the complete and total ridiculousness of this commercial.

And while this ad also talks about how we “once” were the leading nation in almost every economic category, and how we’ve fallen in many of them, it fails to mention that our downfall began around the time we:

  • Started using Trickle Down Economics as an economic policy.
  • Stripped power away from unions.
  • Allowed the salaries of big executives to dwarf the pay of the average employee.
  • Let Wall Street use our economy (and the lives of millions of Americans) in a game of high stakes poker.

When we went from a country that looked out for 98% of Americans, to being one that protected the top 2% at the expense of everyone else, that’s when we fell as a nation.

The Koch brothers know this, which is why they made this unbelievably stupid commercial.  They know it’s people like them who are destroying this nation.

And they’re terrified of more Americans finally figuring that out.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


Facebook comments

  • It’s just Pat

    I agree, Allen, so we need to keep on screaming it from the rooftops, and making sure the message is getting out there to everyone. These big business, top 2 % people are causing great pain to the majority of this country. The rest of us need to stand up and spread the word that if we don’t stop them, we will be nothing but underpaid, overworked slaves for these types. I just cannot get over the selfishness, and arrogant superiority these people have. Thank you, Allen, for continuing to educate us on what the REAL TRUTH of what is happening out there.

  • coinopr

    The Koch Bothers arnt assh—s they are lower than that they are Ankels!!! Thank God they are old and wont be around to much longer.

    • Collean

      Cock Brothers being old is not the answer. They have broken the system and will be broken long after they are dead if we don’t stop them now. Do you want to be corporate property? You better wake up and research and vote!

  • Cesar Penafiel

    I generally like and agree with most of you say Allen, but on the 34k, he is comparing it with the rest of the world, and having lived in many places in the world, he might be right, $3,000/month might be a top 1% in most of the world. If it is wrong, it would be good to know what the real number is. Now, of course $34,000 in the US doesn’t buy you half of the food it can buy you in other countries. It does buy you more electronics here though, as those things are cheaper in the US and Western Europe.

    • Cemetery Girl

      I can’t disagree that there are places in the world that $34000 a year would make you part of the wealthy population, but that isn’t a reasonable comparison. For one thing, people in the US, if placed in a comparable situation in one of those counties wouldn’t be making $34,000 a year. Like here they would also be struggling. Even through the US $34,000 can have a totally different impact based on the cost of living in that particular area. It is just a side ploy. Trying to build a false comradery by telling the public “see, if you had your current situation in a third world country you’d be the same as us” is ridiculous.

      • Memebusters

        Exactly! That’s why they shipped our jobs over to China. Do these people think we are that stupid? Oh Wait! There is still a big audience at Faux News. Americans won’t learn until they are living like the people in these 3rd world countries. Sooo Stupid! They don’t understand the game of Monopoly and how it ends.

    • Aaron

      It’s pretty hard to make $3,000 a month working the US and spending it in another country. Can you imagine having to pay for the airfare every day just to go to work?

    • jdubhub68

      Yes, but they are trying to say that the same $34K in Uganda or India has the same buying power in the U.S. and that means that anybody making that much money in the U.S. is part of the top 1% of all people in the U.S., as if $34K in the U.S. is the same thing as $34 Billion in the U.S.

      • It’s just Pat

        Like anyone in the US who is a multi-billionaire, (like the Koch brothers), would have a clue as to what it feels like to make only $34K in the US. That’s pocket change to them. They need to just shut up and go away.

    • aselvarial

      the thing is, you have to compare apples with apples. And he isn’t. A factory worker in the US, would NOT make $34000 in a country where that would be a good wage. Nope, they’d make what a factory worker in that country made. NOW if you could somehow MOVE to one of those countries, while still making $34000 a year, THEN you’d be comparing apples to apples.

      • Cesar Penafiel

        Exactly, we agree, he should be ridiculed for comparing apples and oranges, not for saying that $34k puts you on the top 1% of the world’s income, which seems accurate. Now, again, to be fair, life in the US can be cheaper than in most 3rd world countries (suburbs of Florida) or among the most expensive (ie. New York) in the world depending where you live, so to talk about wages in such a general way even within the US can also be apples and oranges.

  • Realist12

    Aristocrats/robber barons/elitists throughout history have been the ruin of many nations – why would we expect a different outcome here ? The time has come to save yourselves and your families by voting with your feet. There are many other countries out there where you can be self-employed, provide your family with healthy non-GMO food and a better environment. Suck it up and look out for your loved ones by doing the right thing. That’s what our immigrant ancestors did.

  • Maureen Demar Hall

    They never say what your salary would be if you actually lived and worked in those countries! I imagine it would be far less than $34,000…..

    • jdubhub68

      Or it would be one hell of a commute every day!

  • Haterade

    He’s right, we used to be the leader across the globe. But since we started this path we’re on where the top 1% (of the US) started sucking us all dry by buying politicians and public policy with their bank accounts. And he somehow thinks accelerating that will somehow magically fix anything? What a bafoon! Same with anyone who buys into this total BS!

    • brad

      the cock brothers are pieces of cum crust old ass basterds

  • Edward Baker

    Koch just another way to spell greedy Cock

  • bcborn

    Doesn’t one of them have colon cancer…

    • jdubhub68

      The Republicans had Colin Powell.

  • ddavid

    Oh, well then I’m sure the wouldn’t mind paying more in taxes, since if everyone making more than $34K/year is SO VERY WEALTHY, then we are forced to conclude that anyone making 100 times that, clearly has more money than they could possilby spend, and can afford to pay a bit more in taxes.

    • aselvarial

      absolutely. If $34,000 a year in the US makes one wealthy, then what does $34 MILLION a year make one? Stupidly wealthy?

  • One of them too

    This could backfire bigtime on the Bros. No Republican making $34k is going to be ready to celebrate being in the 1% after hearing this, even if it is on FAUX news.

    • DAMphyne

      never underestimate the power of human stupidity, RAH

    • jdubhub68

      I would look for a Part 2 to this commercial that claims the only reason those Republican voters are not making more than $34K is that *insert name of Democrat running against the Republican in 2014 here* is trying to turn the U.S. into a Third World Country with *insert name of “entitlement” program here*.

  • Andy Baker

    Let’s just roll Koch brothers! Just take everything he has and split it with the 98% then give him a minimum wage job shoveling shit! Let’s see if his attitude changes!

    • Collean

      We could fix the entire country on what he makes a year. If we keep all his income for 10 years, while giving him $34k to live on, he would see the folly of his words.

  • Collean

    $34k a year is a good salary if that is the actual amount of money you get after taxes, health insurance premiums, 401k deductions, workplace mandated charity. If it’s not, then you really don’t have that much. Besides, anyone who doesn’t pay taxes isn’t allowed to tell me how good I have it.

  • Mr. wtf did you just write

    Hong Kong, and Singapore are cites lol wow. I realize the idiots who made the video did have those city’s Names with flags in the advert, but maybe the writer could have pointed that out, to show that in it all that the Koch brother may have money but have no idea what the difference between a country and a city. but unfortunately I guess the writer, doesn’t know the difference either.

    • I Once Was Andrew

      Doesn’t seem you’re speaking from knowledge. Singapore is a country as well as a city. Hong Kong is technically part of China, but may as well be its own country.

  • Mase

    Its just as ridiculous as when Republicons try to compare gun laws here to throughout the world. See, no gun laws there! they say, and alot less deaths. Yes, and everything else about those countries is different too. Chumps do not know how to debate.

  • aselvarial

    it’s only a good salary if you live in one of those countries! Since, we don’t that’s just stupid. try living on $34000 a year in Hong Kong. Or Dubai!

  • ronmort

    The Koch brothers are correct and Mr Clifton is an idiot. As with most
    angry liberals in an argument, the point is completely ignored and
    replaced with whatever serves their delusions. Koch isn’t saying $34K makes you rich. He’s saying it puts you in the top 1% of wage earners on EARTH. It’s a simple mathematical fact. The whole 1% thing was created as a left-wing
    propaganda tool (ala Occupy) and it is being mocked. It and you Mr
    Clifton. It, you and the philosophy of the stupid, known as liberalism.

    • brad

      the cock brothers are correct on some aspects