In a newly released audio recording, obtained by The Undercurrent, a man identified as a top Koch strategist warned that an increased minimum wage could turn the United States to a fascist state. At a Koch Brothers-hosted secret strategy conference of right-wing millionaire and billionaire political activists in June, Koch Industries executive vice president Richard Fink apparently made the slippery-slope argument.
After explaining that when he sees people on the streets, he tells them to “get off your ass and work hard like we did,” the man identified as Fink said that the culture of victimization is the ‘main recruitng ground for totalitarianism, for fascism, for conformism.” Raising the minimum wage, he claimed, would cost 500,000 people their jobs — a claim that has been disputed by some economists:
FINK: We’re taking these 500,000 people that would’ve had a job and putting them unemployed, making dependence part of government programs, and destroying their opportunity for earned success. And so we see this as a very big part of recruitment in Germany in the twenties. When the Germans were crushed by World War I, the allies put a very strong settlement on that. They lost their meaning in life. And if you look at the rise and fall of the Third Reich … what happens is a fascist comes in and offers them an opportunity.
He added that similar patterns were seen in “Lenin and Stalin Russia” and Mao in China.”
Watch the video:
At the same conference, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) promised those present that if his party regains a majority in the Senate this November, the body will no longer waste time on “gosh darn” minimum wage increases.
Koch Industries did not immediately respond to a ThinkProgress inquiry about the audio.