Export-Import Bank

Stop Obama’s green energy cronyism: Kill the Export-Import Bank

Barack Obama and Solyndra

One of the Export-Import Bank’s main goal, as it appears stated on its “About Us” page, is to “provide[s] export financing products that fill gaps in trade financing,” and effectively support U.S. companies that export “primarily to developing markets worldwide.”

The noble mission of filling in the gaps in trade financing, working as if the institution exists to fill in for an all-seeing eye and making sure that the developing world is being coerced into purchasing American products, doesn’t seem all that noble once you explore what the agency has accomplished in the last 80 years.

While the export credit firm offers financial incentives that promote a few amongst the greats of American corporations so that poor countries can afford U.S. products, one of the agency’s least publicized but extremely essential functions is to pick winners and offer them a striving market that is ready for their subsidized – therefore artificially affordable at the final consumer level – goods.

According to a research published by the Mercatus Center, the Export-Import bank’s most pressing problem is its procedural favoring of politically-connected corporations, which ultimately undermines competition, offering a disloyal and unjust environment to other companies that are not even allowed to compete with the government’s protégé abroad.

One of the industries that have been recently picking up steam with the help of the Ex-Im Bank is the green energy and sustainability sector.

Ex-Im Is The “Face of Cronyism,” Says Jeb Hensarling

Crony capitalism is America’s disease and the real problem with the modern perception of capitalism that most of the left likes to use against capitalism itself, without discerning between what voluntary trade and free markets can accomplish and what crony capitalism actually is all about.

It’s very easy to find perfect examples of crony capitalism in the age of President Barack Obama.

One of these perfect examples has been relying on taxpayer money to subsidize financial incentives destined to foreign companies that purchase U.S. exports: the Export-Import Bank.

The agency’s charter expires in 2014, making now the perfect time for opponents of crony capitalism to raise their objections to the agency’s upcoming congressional renewal. Heritage’s The Foundry talked to Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) about the Export-Import Bank and why he thinks that the federal export-subsidy agency should not be allowed to stay in business.

Corporate Welfare: Can Republicans Kick the Habit?

I periodically try to explain that there’s a big difference between being pro-market and pro-business.

Simply stated, policy makers shouldn’t try to penalize businesses with taxes, mandates, and regulations.

But neither should politicians seek to subsidize businesses. That’s why I’m against bailouts, subsidies, and other distortions that provide special favors for politically connected companies.

I have nothing against companies earning money, to be sure, but I want them to earn their profits in the marketplace rather than lining their pockets by using the coercive power of government to rig the rules of the game.

Republicans are about to cave on the crony Ex-Im Bank, surrendering more ground to the Obama White House

After months of a very public debate over the future of the Export-Import Bank, House Republicans are poised to temporarily extend the life of the controversial New Deal-era agency to avoid any drama before the mid-term election.

The Ex-Im Bank has, rightly, been criticized by conservatives both inside and outside of Congress because it has become symbolic of cronyism, the marriage of big government and big business. The Bank has doled out billions of dollars in taxpayer-backed loans to some United States’ biggest corporations, including Boeing, Caterpillar, General Electric.

Despite the efforts of some members willing to take on cronyism, House Republicans are poised to reauthorize Ex-Im, albeit temporarily, instead of risking a big fight before the chamber, because, apparently, there’s never a good moment to get into a debate over bad policy:

Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday signaled the House will extend the Export-Import Bank’s charter, saying that one of the institution’s biggest critics is on board.

The Ohio Republican said he is working with Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling, the Financial Services chairman, who “thinks a temporary extension of the Export-Import Bank is in order.”

Elizabeth Warren’s hypocrisy exposed: She hates corporate welfare, except for when she doesn’t

Elizabeth Warren

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is the darling of the political left. They can’t get enough of her. The Massachusetts Democrat’s willingness to take on corporate special interests, especially Wall Street and big banks.

But Warren’s anti-big business populism only goes so far. She recently came out in support of the reauthorization of the Export Import Bank, the controversial New Deal-era agency known for issuing taxpayer-backed loans to politically-connected big businesses. Unlike Warren, it’s conservatives that are trying to end the Bank’s brand of cronyism.

The Club for Growth released a nearly 3-minute video this week exposing Warren’s hypocrisy, pointing out that Ex-Im represents is exactly the type of corporate welfare that the Massachusetts Democrat should be against:

Flip-flopper-in-chief: Barack Obama was against the crony Ex-Im Bank before he lobbied for its reauthorization

President Barack Obama used his weekly address to make a sales pitch for the Export-Import Bank, the New Deal-era agency that has come under fire from conservatives in Congress because of its taxpayer-backed loan guarantees to large corporations. Congress will take up the reauthorization of the Bank at some point next month, which could lead to a showdown between conservatives and the Washington political establishment:

President Barack Obama urged the owners and employees of businesses that rely on Export-Import Bank financing to tell members of Congress to “quit treating your business like it’s expendable” in his Saturday morning address.
[…]
Obama took aim at that characterization of the bank on Saturday.

“Its sole mission is to create American jobs. That’s it,” Obama said. “It helps many American entrepreneurs take that next step and take their small business global.”

The bank has been reauthorized 16 times before, “always with support from both parties” and under both Republican and Democratic presidents, the president said.

“This time around shouldn’t be any different,” he said. “Because the bank works. It’s independent. It pays for itself. But if Congress fails to act, thousands of businesses, large and small, that sell their products abroad will take a completely unnecessary hit.”

Ex-Im officials have blown through their travel, lobbying budget as they scramble to save the crony Bank

Export-Import Bank officials have been playing lobbyists not only to U.S. lawmakers, but also to business owners. According to Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney, serving a dual purpose is far from cheap to the taxpayers sustaining the agency.

While rallying Congress to renewal the Ex-Im Bank’s charter, officials have been traveling all over the country to recruit businesses. According to a press release from the Export-Import Bank published last week, “[O]fficials from the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. (Ex-Im Bank) will hold a series of forums, discussions, and small-business stops to increase awareness among American small businesses of how the Export-Import Bank can help them boost their exports abroad, while creating jobs here at home.”

The travels may seem of little importance to supporters of the Ex-Im Bank, but the problem lies elsewhere; during 2012, for an instance, Ex-Im spent $2.7 million in travel expenses while budgeting $1.7 million.

During the next fiscal year, the agency budgeted $1.2 million and spent $2.2 million, but the year of 2014 has been just as concerning. According to The Hill, Ex-Im budgeted $1.3 million, but has already estimated that the total spending may reach the $2.3 million mark.

Officials attempting to boost the public support of the bank and encourage businesses to lobby for subsidies are the ones doing most of the traveling, which is essentially creating a vicious cycle.

Today in Liberty: House authorizes lawsuit against Barack Obama, Rand Paul slams MSNBC host’s distortion of his record

“The most important single central fact about a free market is that no exchange takes place unless both parties benefit.” — Milton Friedman

— Happy birthday, Milton Friedman: You may have noticed that we’ve featured quotes from Milton Friedman, the famous free market economist and Nobel Prize laureate. He was born on this day in 1912. Words cannot express how much of an impact Friedman had on public policy. He advanced free market capitalism in various areas, especially in school choice. He played a key role in ending the military draft and made some of the compelling arguments against the war on drugs. Celebrate Milton Friedman’s legacy by checking out Capitalism and Freedom and Freedom to Choose: A Personal Statement.

The debate over Ex-Im is a decisive moment for conservatives: Democrats are feverishly working to save the crony Bank

As usual, Washington is trying to play politics instead of looking at the long-term consequences of bad policies, putting what they see as the most appropriate short-term solution ahead of what would, in the long run, provide a more just scenario to business owners across the board, while relieving taxpayers in the process.

The debate surrounding the Export-Import Bank could represent a decisive moment for small-government Republicans who oppose corporate welfare, considering their anti-cronyism positions have been adamantly opposed to what the Democrats consider being “pro-business.”

The two parties have their own solutions to the Ex-Im Bank.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has introduced a proposal legislation that would keep the Export-Import Bank running for five more years. His bill, however, would increase the bank’s borrowing capacities, making it effectively capable of loaning more subsidies to major companies that, obviously, need absolutely no help to do their business abroad, especially if that help comes from hard working taxpayers. The transfer of subsidies, and favoritism games play extremely important roles in the process, and that does not seem to faze the Democrat – or his supporters.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), for an instance, has come out in support of the bank.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce plans to back Democrat Mary Landrieu in Louisiana, claims she’s more “pro-business” than Ted Cruz

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce took a central role in the Republican civil war last year, pledging $50 million elect purportedly “pro-business” candidates in the 2014 election. The Chamber played a big part in the reelection of Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) last month, pouring $1.2 million in the Magnolia State to help knock off his conservative primary challenger.

Establishment Republicans like to defend the Chamber. They say the Chamber is a crucial ally for the GOP, especially in the 2014 mid-term election. Well, good luck defending this one, guys. The Chamber is reportedly planning to endorse Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) over Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) in the Louisiana Senate race:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is reportedly throwing support behind Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), according to the group’s national political director, Rob Engstrom.

Engstrom told the audience at a Committee of 100 meeting that the group would support Landrieu in her fight to win re-election, according to The New York Times’ Joe Nocera.

Keep in mind that this race is key to Republicans taking control of the Senate this fall. There’s still a path to a majority without Louisiana, at least on paper, but it’s hard to see it taking shape without a win there. Now, the Chamber claims that that “no decisions have been made” on this race. But it fits a pattern:


The views and opinions expressed by individual authors are not necessarily those of other authors, advertisers, developers or editors at United Liberty.