Colorado Springs — Billionaire Charles Koch warned conservative donors here Sunday the future of the nation is in peril if policymakers don't find a way to solve the problems related to the haves and the have-nots.
"There is a massive dissatisfaction with our rigged, two-tiered society that is destroying opportunity and pitting people against each other," Koch told attendees of the Seminar Network conference.
He said the massive split is creating disillusionment in the institutions of the country by millions of people. Koch warned that if this continues, it portends a "very grim future" for the United States.
Koch was joined onstage by other speakers who highlight the despair and hopelessness that many feel in areas of the country that have suffered from job losses, and then other problems like addiction. Koch was asking donors to contribute to several of the groups he backs that are aimed at helping at-risk communities.
"I believe that the starting point is reaching those who are in despair, and convincing them that they can learn, contribute and succeed," Koch said.
He told conference attendees that his hero was Frederick Douglass, the slave-turned-abolitionist who learned to read himself, and then found his calling as an orator who worked to free other slaves.
"Our vision is to ensure that everybody does what Frederick Douglass did," Koch said. "That is, believe in yourself, fully develop your innate abilities, and then apply them to succeed by creating value for others."