April 30, 2013

ROGER L. SIMON: Will the Koch Brothers Save Los Angeles?

So media liberals are having a hissy fit and circling their wagons. One of their prizes may be destroyed or, worse, converted (actually, the paper’s been in miserable shape for years).

They are asserting that the Kochs and blue, blue Los Angeles are a terrible fit and that such a purchase would be a disaster for all concerned — the paper, the city, and even the Kochs (for whom USA Today sheds crocodile tears).

But is this true?

Despite media attempts to portray them as conservative barbarians, the Kochs, like Los Angeles, are socially liberal. David Koch, who ran for vice president in 1980 as a Libertarian (not a Republican), quite publicly announced he is pro-gay marriage. This issue is the litmus test for Westside Los Angeles nowadays, bar none. (No wonder the media glosses over the Kochs’ views on this.)

What may no longer be a litmus test for Los Angeles is New Deal/Great Society-style economics. Even some of the more devout liberal true believers are beginning to face reality. Keynesianism isn’t working — from Athens to L.A.

Los Angeles, when I arrived back in the early 1970s, was one of the most powerful cities in the world, the media and lifestyle capital for the planet. It is now the shell of its former self, its pothole-filled streets and cracked sidewalks lined with empty storefronts, its freeways crowded and outdated.

No one knows how many are really unemployed and I don’t think anyone wants to know. The statistic would be too stark, as are the statistics for unfunded pensions, etc., which leave Los Angeles and California teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.

Something has to change and you would think that would be fertile ground for the free market-oriented Koch brothers.

A good newspaper could do a lot for Los Angeles. As a longtime Angeleno, and no slouch in the media department himself, Roger knows.

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