Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Democrats-- Even The Good Ones-- Voted Wrong On The Import-Export Bank


I don't often get press releases from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, but today their chief lobbyist, Bruce Josten, sent me one about how happy they are about the Export-Import Bank reauthorization.
Today’s vote in the House to reauthorize Ex-Im proves once more that a clear majority of the Congress is in favor of maintaining and reforming this important program. Ex-Im’s support levels the global market for American exporters and helps them remain competitive with their foreign counterparts. We applaud the leadership of Representatives Stephen Fincher, Frank Lucas, Maxine Waters, Steny Hoyer, Denny Heck, Gwen Moore and many other champions for bringing this bipartisan reform bill to a vote.
It passed the House 313-118. 127 Republicans voted for it and 117 Republicans voted against it. The Democrats were much more unified for this awful corporate welfare bill. 186 Democrats voted YES and just one-- Alan Grayson-- voted NO.

I knew that Alan, like Bernie Sanders in the Senate, was opposed to this bill which is a giveaway to big corporations. His office issued a brief statement when he voted, the day before, for the discharge petition allowing a vote: "Rep. Grayson voted for the discharge position because he believes that the House should vote on bills that Members want to vote on, and not allow right-wing Republicans (or a GOP Speaker) to dictate the agenda. Nevertheless, he does not support corporate welfare for foreign corporations, which is what the Ex-Im Bank has degenerated into. Rep. Grayson remains deeply concerned that through the Ex-Im Bank, the federal government is providing a low-interest taxpayer subsidy exclusively to foreign competitors, and thus destroying jobs in the United States.  He maintains that if the Government is going to provide such loans anyone, they should be to U.S. concerns, not foreign ones." What I didn't know was that Grayson's main reasons for voting against it was because it's a taxpayer boondoggle that goes primarily to foreign-owned corporations, not even American-owned ones!

The Mercatus Center at George Mason University in Virginia released a document by Veronique de Rugy and Diane Katz, The Export-Import Bank’s Top Foreign Buyers that makes it hard to believe the whole Democratic conference could vote for this thing.
Ex-Im Bank advocates emphasize its importance to small businesses and economic growth. A new analysis of government data reveals that Ex-Im Bank’s top 10 overseas buyers are large corporations that primarily purchase exports from multinational conglomerates. Ex-Im Bank’s small business narrative is challenged by the fact that the buyers receiving the most subsidies are-- like the exporters-- major corporations. If lawmakers truly want to nurture small businesses and economic growth, they should end the Ex-Im Bank favoritism that undermines domestic companies and focus instead on reducing the tax and regulatory barriers that choke investment, innovation, and job creation.

...The numerous problems with Ex-Im Bank have been analyzed in a significant body of research. For instance, previous research has documented that Ex-Im Bank financing principally benefits very large exporters. This new analysis reveals that the primary beneficiaries on the buyer side of the transactions are also very large firms. Among the top 10 buyers, 5 are state-controlled and rake in millions of dollars from their own governments in addition to Ex-Im Bank subsidies. These multiple-subsidy streams offset operating costs, and provide a significant competitive advantage over unsubsidized US firms engaged in similar ventures.

Five of the top 10 buyers are involved in the exploration, development, and production of oil or natural gas. These foreign concerns are collecting subsidies from American taxpayers at the same time that the Obama administration is restricting domestic oil and gas operations. Consequently, the federal government doubly disadvantages US energy firms-- through Washington’s excessive regulation and Ex-Im Bank subsidies granted to US firms’ foreign competitors.

The other five top buyers are airlines that collectively have received more than $15 billion in Ex-Im Bank subsidies in the past seven years solely to purchase products from Boeing-- the single largest US beneficiary of Ex-Im Bank financing. The bank’s subsidization of foreign airlines has tripled since 2008, significantly increasing competitive pressure on domestic carriers. In reality, Ex-Im Bank subsidies are a form of corporate welfare that is neither necessary nor appropriate. If lawmakers truly want to nurture small businesses and economic growth, they should end the Ex-Im Bank favoritism that undermines domestic companies and focus instead on reducing the tax and regulatory barriers that choke investment, innovation, and job creation.
It's easy to understand why corporate whores like Farmer Fincher (R-TN), Frank Lucas (R-OK), Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Denny Heck (D-WA) were pushing this vote so hard, but I can't understand why all the progressives-- except Grayson-- did as well. Every progressive I spoke with said the expiration of the Export-Import Bank had cost jobs in their districts. I understand that but something tells me there are better ways to subsidize jobs in America than by making millions of dollars in payments to Emirates Airline, Mexico's giant oil company (Pemex) and oil and gas companies in India, Australia, Colombia and Papua-New Guinea. Bernie Sanders and Alan Grayson opposed this thing, two of the smartest and most dedicated progressives in Congress. It was interesting that of the 4 candidates in the Florida Senate race, the two corrupt transactional candidates-- Murphy (D) and Jolly (R)-- both voted for the bill and the two candidates that decide how to vote based on principles-- Grayson (D) and DeSantis (R)-- both voted against it. Suggestion: help Alan's Senate campaign here.

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At 9:04 AM, Blogger Bula said...


The EXIM is only corporate welfare for Boeing, GE, Caterpillar and the like. I work for a small company that does about 1 million dollars in overseas sales that we will probably have to walk away from with out the EXIM receivables insurance we were able to purchase from them. It should be limited by the size of the company.

Multi-billion dollar companies do not need the guarantees that smaller ones do.


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