The debate over the future of the Export-Import Bank can be difficult to follow, in part because proponents of the Bank are often in conflict with one another. Here are the latest examples:
Does Export-Import Bank provide cheap loans?
Tony Fratto, Hamilton Place Strategies: All of you that have been writing that Ex-Im makes cheap loans — they actually make expensive loans. (AEI Debate, July 24, 2014)
Former Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH): By allowing American companies, mostly very large ones, to finance the products they want to sell to a foreign company or government at a reduced rate, the Ex-Im Bank in fact represents an American commercial threat to foreign companies. (The Hill, July 28, 2014)
Does the Export-Import Bank create job?
A recurring theme among Export-Import Bank supporters is that, at its heart, it’s all about small business.
One Tallahassee small business owner was completely candid about his negative experience with the Export-Import Bank, the Tallahassee Democrat reports. Ron Conroy of Verdicorp is more than happy to see the bank’s authorization expire on Sept. 30.
Tallahassee-based Verdicorp, which makes heating and air conditioning systems, used the program once — to insure sales to a foreign buyer in case the purchaser defaulted. That didn’t happen.
Verdicorp owner Ron Conroy says he has no plans to use the bank again because he said bank officials are more interested in helping larger companies.
“If you send them aircraft, they’re very good. (But) anything less than $10 million, they don’t want to (deal with) you. They say they do but they don’t,” he said. “For the country, it’s worth having. But for smaller companies, it’s useless.”
A few days after the newly minted Majority Leader announced he had no intention
of protecting the Ex-Im Bank, the Wall Street Journal delivered
some more bad news for its advocates.
In recent months, it seems Ex-Im has had to suspend or remove four top officials from their positions due to allegations of bribery, corporate favoritism, and other bureaucratic improprieties. The investigation’s targets include one high level employee by the name of Johnny Gutierrez, from Ex-Im’s short-term trade finance division, who ostensibly accepted “kickback” payments in exchange for helping to authorize financing for a Florida construction equipment company called Impex. According to the report:
In 2012, 61-percent
of House Republicans voted to reauthorize and expand the Export-Import Bank
. Just two years later, party leaders feel compelled to call for its elimination.
Congress and the media have taken note
of conservative opposition to reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank this September, and they’ve picked up on our willingness to take politicians to task for Ex-Im Bank related cronyism. But as CQ.com notes, the effort to end the Bank is part of a “deeper phenomenon” (sub. req’d
[E]ven if the bank is reauthorized, there’s a longer-term and deeper phenomenon occurring: the growth within conservative ranks of opposition to traditional Chamber of Commerce Republican positions, including but not limited to the Ex-Im Bank.
“Traditional Chamber of Commerce Republican” is no complement. From a conservative perspective, “the Chamber and the Business Roundtable are proving to be friends first of big business, not struggling American workers or would-be entrepreneurs.”