Many Americans may not have heard of the Export-Import Bank — a fact frequently noted
by the media — but the fight over whether or not to renew the Bank’s charter before it expires in September is a pivotal one in Washington this year. Politicians’ stance on the issue will serve as a litmus test for their commitment to Main Street rather than well connected special interests.
The good news, as NPR reports, is that Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, is leading the charge against the Bank’s reauthorization.
With Hensarling and other top House Republican leaders ready to kill the bank, it may be difficult for the bank to get the votes it needs to stay in business.
Why are they so staunchly opposed? Veronique de Rugy of the Mercatus center describes the Bank this way, and explains why anyone who really understands how the Bank works should oppose it:
We don’t agree on much in Washington. But given all of the economic and social problems our nation faces, everyone should agree that the federal government should not direct our limited public resources primarily to wealthy, politically connected corporations. This is what the Export-Import Bank does.
Some say that there are good reasons to continue doing this. They say that the bank, known as the Ex-Im Bank, promotes U.S. exports, protects jobs and is a good deal for taxpayers. None of these arguments withstand scrutiny.
And Daniel Boudreaux, an economist at George Mason University agrees:
“In my camp, the Export-Import Bank has always been a prime example of unjustified, inefficient corporate welfare,” Boudreaux says. “The fact that there’s a Tea Party movement now, that’s what gives opposition to the Export-Import Bank some legs to stand on now.”