Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Unseen Victims of Export-Import Bank Cronyism

By Veronique de Rugy

Does anyone believe that politicians care about average Americans and oppose cronyism? If you’re one of the few people who is still on the fence, look to the recent Export-Import Bank reauthorization for the sad answer: They don’t.

127 Republicans joined forces with Democrats in the House to resurrect the zombie corporate welfare program from its too-fresh grave. This federal subsidy program is one of the most notorious examples of cronyism: Ex-Im inflates profits for giant, politically connected companies through cheap, taxpayer-backed loans.

The list of those who voted for Ex-Im is depressing. Among them are all of the contenders to replace now-Speaker Paul Ryan as the Ways and Means chairman, a Freedom Caucus lawmaker, all of your big-business, big-government Republicans (as expected), the “moderate” Republicans as the press call them, and all Democrats except for one: Florida’s representative Alan Grayson (and good for him!).
The Republicans have been known for years to be the party of big business. While their ranks are thinning, they can rouse a sloppy kiss for an agency whose entire reason for being appears to be to promote the narrow welfare of a handful of corporations. However, it is interesting to see the unanimous support from the Democrats considering their constant complaints against corporatism.

On the domestic side, 64 percent of Ex-Im financing benefits 10 large corporations, and 40 percent benefits Boeing. After all, there’s a reason Ex-Im is referred to as “Boeing’s Bank.”

On the foreign buyer side, the top beneficiaries include a majority of state-owned companies such as Mexican oil and gas giant Pemex and Air Emirates, the airline of oil-rich United Arab Emirates.

Supporters deceptively claim that Ex-Im should be reauthorized because it substantially promotes exports, creates jobs, and supports small businesses. None of these arguments withstand scrutiny.

First, the Ex-Im Bank plays a marginal role in export financing—backing a mere 2 percent of U.S. exports each year.

Read the rest here.

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