The modern equivalent of Hearst is the Koch Brothers, David and Charles ó known without affection as the Kochtopus. On certain days, depending on the stock market, their combined worth is more than any single Americanís, somewhere around $80 billion.
They have used a big part of this fortune to attack the indisputable science on climate change, to buy junk scholars, to promote harmful legislation at the state level, to go after clean, renewable energy like solar, and to try to kill the greatest expansion of health care in decades. Money canít buy love, but it certainly can cause a lot of havoc.
The Kochs, whose industries are among the nationís biggest corporate polluters, are currently funding stealth campaigns to roll back incentives for clean energy. What theyíre running up against are American do-it-yourselfers. The future of solar is now, with every homeowner tinkering on a roof, every company looking for tomorrow technology, every market improvement that brings the cost down and effectiveness up.
With their fight against health care, the Kochs are bumping into another wall of inconvenient truths. Not only has Obamacare exceeded expectations for sign-ups in the first year, but itís projected now to cover more people over 10 years ó 25 million ó and cost $104 billion less than previously forecast, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.