Tags: Export-Import Bank | crony | capitalism | corporate welfare

Crony Capitalist Ex-Im Bank Threatens to Rise From Grave

By Wednesday, 08 July 2015 08:30 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Something happened last week we almost never see in this country: a federal agency lost its authorization to spend your money. The U.S. Export-Import Bank stopped issuing loan guarantees on June 30.

We should all celebrate this news. I called for it a year ago, and now we have proof that cutting government down to size is possible.

There’s one problem, though. This zombie agency may rise from the dead.
Some very powerful people really like the Export-Import Bank, first among them the leaders of Boeing.

The Ex-Im Bank is (or was) Boeing’s overseas financing arm. It guaranteed loans that let foreign customers buy Boeing’s planes.

Who is on the hook should one of those customers stop paying? You are, the American Taxpayer.

This is wrong for numerous reasons. The government should not be subsidizing any business, small or large. It certainly should not subsidize a company that less than a month ago earned the headline, “Boeing $40.8 Billion Show Haul Means Bragging Rights Over Airbus.”

Boeing can obviously afford to operate its own bank. You and I should not be on the hook for its profits (or its bragging rights).

Other crony capitalists offer different reasons. General Electric chief executive Jeff Immelt, for instance, warned last month that the Ex-Im Bank’s closure would force him to fire American workers and move their jobs to Canada and Europe.

Said Immelt: “Good GE jobs in the United States will be moved to Canada and Europe. That’s a mighty high price to pay for ideological purity.”

Let’s break this down.

First, absolutely nothing will force GE to move those jobs, if it does so. Moving the jobs will be “purely” Immelt’s choice. He knows it, too. As President Obama’s jobs czar from 2011 to 2013, he urged other executives not to do the exact thing he now threatens. No wonder they ignored him.

Second, GE gets a lot of revenue from the U.S. government. If this is how it says thank you to America, I’m sure we can find other vendors who will actually appreciate our business. That’s a mighty high price GE will pay for its tax-subsidized banking help.

Third, if you are one of the GE workers who stands to lose his job, why in the world do you even want to work for Immelt? He clearly cares nothing about you. You are just another object on his financial game board. Go work for someone who appreciates your talents — and loves the same country you do.

The Export-Import Bank is presently in limbo, unable to make new loans but refusing to shut down.

Why is this? Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) intend to attach a reauthorization to a highway-funding bill later this month. President Obama will certainly sign the bill if Congress passes it.

If the Ex-Im Bank comes back to life, it will be a bipartisan victory for crony capitalism and a stinging loss for liberty and smaller government. Other tests will follow, such as the pending farm bill that doles out billions to giant, profitable agribusinesses.

The “entitlement” mentality isn’t just an inner-city problem. It exists in many executive suites, too. Now is the time to turn it around.

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If the Export-Import Bank comes back to life, it will be a bipartisan victory for crony capitalism and a stinging loss for liberty and smaller government.
Export-Import Bank, crony, capitalism, corporate welfare
Wednesday, 08 July 2015 08:30 AM
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