The US Export-Import Bank is seeking Congress’s help to extend its life a little longer. Last reauthorized in 2012, it is set to expire at the end of September — if the Congress does not act. But several Tea Party-aligned groups are lining up to pressure congressional Republicans to vote NO on reauthorizing this entity that basically hands out taxpayer-backed goodies to large corporate campaign contributors.
Heck, even Big Barry derided it as “corporate welfare” when he was in the US Senate.
Defenders of the bank say it provides valuable aid to US businesses seeking to improve their exporting side of their operations. But the good folks at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center have found that we’re all assuming the risk for a few businesses in a few states. (For instance, 43.8 percent of all of the Ex-Im Bank’s disbursements go to Boeing — which is headquartered in Washington state. As a comparison, 1.2 percent of the bank’s disbursements go to North Carolina, while a *whopping* 0.6 percent goes to South Carolina.)
Roughly 2.7 percent of all exports from North Carolina businesses are backed by the Ex-Im Bank. A *whopping* 0.8 percent of South Carolina’s exports are backed by the bank. As of 2007 — the most current data available, approximately 0.29 percent of all US small business jobs can be credited to backing by the Ex-Im Bank. A *whopping* 0.04 percent of ALL US small business firms’s creation and survival can be credited to backing from the US Ex-Im Bank.
The Ex-Im Bank is a gold mine for the big corporations that dominate the US Chamber of Commerce. But, as you can see, — despite what the politicians tell us — it has a minimal impact on the nation’s economy. The experts at The Mercatus Center have found that the biggest beneficiaries of Ex-Im Bank disbursements are among the world’s wealthiest nations and some of the US’s stiffest economic competitors.
Some of the most damning evidence against renewing the life of this albatross comes from analyzing the state reasons for the disbursements to businesses. In 2013, the Ex-Im Bank disbursed more than $37 BILLION. According to Mercatus, only 32.7 percent of total yearly disbursements by the bank are done so with the purpose of ”meet[ing] competition from a foreign, officially-sponsored export credit agency.” About 5.5 percent of the bank’s total disbursements can be tied to ”assum[ing] political or commercial risk that exporter or financial institutions are unwilling or unable to take.” About 10.9 percent of total disbursements are made for the purpose of “overcom[ing] private sector limitations.” A staggering 50.1 percent of the bank’s total disbursements are made with absolutely NO justification whatsoever.
Let’s look back at 2012 — the last time the Ex-Im Bank got reauthorized. Walter Jones, Virginia Foxx, and Patrick McHenry were the only NO votes from the North Carolina delegation. (Now, McHenry and Foxx are in the House leadership. So, they will be following the lead of Boehner and Kevin McCarthy this time.)
We posted back in 2012 about Renee Ellmers’s vote FOR and support OF the Ex-Im Bank. Let’s see if she does it again with Mr. American Idol breathing down her neck. This is like the economic incentive debate at the state level. The state confiscates money from all of us to heap special benefits upon a select few. With the Ex-Im bank, if a recipient defaults, we’re left to pick up the tab and cover the difference.