Yesterday, in a speech at Hillsdale College’s Kirby Center, House Budget Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) N/A% expressed his desire to end the Export-Import Bank, which expires at the end of September. Ryan’s primary point though was that conservatives and Republicans should let Democrats be the party of corporate welfare and cronyism:
“My friend Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) 83% has recently launched a great challenge against the crony capitalist economy, and in particular, against one of its manifestations, the Export-Import Bank. But the bank is just one example of how bureaucratic government is corrupting free enterprise through and through. Conservatives must stop defending this. Cronyism is the Progressives’ project for economic control. Let them defend it.”
This morning’s WSJ editorial on yesterday’s highway and transit bailout (see the scorecard) is a must read. After slamming the bill as “a tribute to budget gimmicks” that “does nothing to address the revenue-spending mismatch that is today’s highway fund,” the editorial offered up some serious GOP accountability:
Republicans over the years have proposed a number of innovative reforms to a federal highway program that bristles with waste and bureaucracy. These include devolving more power to the states to set priorities, slashing the billions thrown at money-losing urban mass-transit projects, streamlining environmental laws that add to construction costs, and potentially devoting some royalties from expanded federal oil and gas drilling to fund roads. Too bad they never seem to get around to implementing them.
House GOP leaders are claiming the temporary nature of this patch is designed to give them another run at reform next year, perhaps with the support of a Republican-led Senate. We’ll hold them to that. The trust fund problem has been begging for a fix for years. This latest stopgap is a dodge, not a victory.
In a letter to the editor in the Spokesman-Review, Edmund Schweitzer III writes:
“Some Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories customers have used the Ex-Im Bank for financing, at their choosing. SEL does not depend on it, nor encourage it. If the Ex-Im Bank were to disappear, I believe buyers and sellers would find attractive commercial options unencumbered by politics and special interests.”
Mr. Schweitzer’s position is clear: Thus, at this moment, I believe the charter should not be renewed.
Ironically, a Spokesman-Review editorial in 2012 cited his company as a reason the Bank should be reauthorized:
“Although Boeing Co. is by far the biggest beneficiary, in the last five years several Eastern Washington companies – SCAFCO in Spokane, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories in Pullman, and Colmac Coil in Colville – have done more than $3 million worth of foreign business with Ex-Im’s help. Dozens, if not hundreds, of jobs have been created or sustained.”
The fifth district company, represented by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) 58%, has received $3.6 million in financial assistance from the Bank since 2007, with $1.6 million coming since 2012.
Congress should End Ex-Im.
“All told, nearly 700,000 jobs could be at risk next year.”
That was President Obama earlier this month, urging Congress to bail out the federal Highway Trust Fund (HTF). He warned failure to act would be the equivalent of Congress laying off the “entire population of Denver, or Seattle, or Boston.”
A November 2013 paper by James Sherk, Senior Policy Analyst in Labor Economics at The Heritage Foundation, provides some different numbers:
“Across the U.S., just over 300,000 Americans work in highway, street, or bridge construction—less than the population of Wichita, Kansas.”
Obama’s math just doesn’t add up.
Charles Krauthammer got right to the heart of the immigration crisis on our Southwest border in a Washington Post column Thursday:
Why do they come? The administration pretends it’s because of violence and poverty.
Nonsense. When has there not been violence and poverty in Central America? Yet this wave of children has doubled in size in the past two years and is projected to double again by October. The new variable is Obama’s unilateral (and lawless) June 2012 order essentially legalizing hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who came here as children.
Message received in Central America.