Wall Street Journal Honcho Shills for Secret Worker 'Education' Program Linked to Koch Group
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The Right's "Answer to ACORN"
Last July, before a crowd of some 200 activists at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, Cain, Hansen, and the Wall Street Journal's John Fund promoted Prosperity 101 at a presentation that was part of the AFP Foundation's RightOnline conference, the foundation's answer to the yearly liberal Netroots Nation convention. While Netroots convened off the main drag at the comparatively modest Rio Hotel and Casino, Tim Phillips made a point of telling his audience that the AFP Foundation chose the opulent Venetian because it is the only non-union hotel on the Strip.
As Hansen introduced her program to AFP activists, she couldn't resist taking a swipe at what was once the left's best-known community organizing group, felled by a video campaign led by right-wing blogger Andrew Breitbart, also a Koch ally.
"A key component of Prosperity 101 is working with employers to help them encourage voter registration among their employees," Hansen, trim and stylish at 52, explained to the crowd. "So when Herman [Cain] first heard the concept here, he said, 'You've come up with the answer to ACORN!'"
Hansen then played the Prosperity 101 promotional video, which features Cain and the Journal's Stephen Moore.
Moore's segment confers a crucial air of legitimacy upon Prosperity 101 by virtue of his post at the world's premier financial newspaper, an affiliation that is highlighted both in the video and in the program's other promotional materials. "Washington is working against employers," Moore tells viewers. "It's working against people who are trying to create wealth and are trying to employ workers."
Each audience member received a copy of the program's textbook, a slender paperback that features material by Cain and Moore, among others.
In "The Keys to Prosperity," Moore's chapter in the Prosperity 101 textbook, he offers up a series of charts, some of them indecipherable, including a pie chart called "Where Your Federal Tax Dollar Goes." (Apparently derived from an earlier presentation Moore made at an AFP Foundation event, the same charts can be found here; scroll to slide no. 16 for this one.) Citing such official sources as the Internal Revenue Service, the Government Accountability Office, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it features eight slices labeled "Flushed Down a Toilet, "Pissed Away," "Down a Rat Hole," "Sleaze," "Corruption," "Given to 'Supporters,'" "Tossed Down the Drain," and "Postage Stamps." (The latter, Moore baselessly contends, accounts for 6 percent of your tax dollars -- which is, incidentally, six times the allotment for non-military foreign aid.)
After the video, John Fund, 54, took to the mic, devoting his presentation to a story about the right's favorite hero, Ronald Reagan, from Reagan's days as a pitchman for General Electric in the 1950s.
While Reagan's time at GE was memorialized by the GE-sponsored television show he hosted, his other duties included rallying the conglomerate's 250,000 employees. He regularly appeared before workplace gatherings "as a spokesman for its free market, anti-union, anti-Communist, anti-welfare creed," in the words of journalist Gary Kamiya, who has written about the period. The Prosperity 101 program, Fund indicated, draws on the legacy of Reagan's workplace-indoctrination sessions -- often with Stephen Moore serving as the Reagan figure, an affable educator, opening the eyes of employees of participating companies.
Reagan, Fund said, was impressed with the knowledge of free-market economics displayed by GE workers, thanks to a company book exchange -- a kind of lending library that circulated ideological economic texts, including The Road to Serfdom, by the Austrian writer Friedrich A. Hayek, a title that has been made newly popular, Fund pointed out, by Glenn Beck.