Club for Growth's Chris Chocola: Eliminate Export-Import Bank

Tuesday, 24 Jun 2014 11:41 AM

By John Morgan

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The Export-Import Bank is a slush fund that should be shut down, according to a guest editorial in USA Today.

Chris Chocola, a former congressman from Indiana and president of the Club for Growth, said the Export-Import Bank is what infamous business failures Solyndra and Enron have in common, and that even Mexican drug cartels have benefited from the bank. The bank provides taxpayer-backed loans and loan guarantees to foreign entities that buy U.S. exports.

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“The bank provides more than 60 percent of its subsidies to one massive company, Boeing, to export airplanes,” Chocola said. “The damage the bank does by picking winners and losers cannot be understated,” he claimed. He said its subsidies helped one Australian miner buy equipment from U.S. industrial giant Caterpillar, but that only harmed the business of American miners like Cliffs Natural Resources.

According to Chocola, the talking points produced by the bank, large corporations and lobbyists who benefit from the bank’s subsidies should be viewed warily. Although they claim the bank does not lose money, he said the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office concluded the Export-Import Bank cost taxpayers $2 billion over 10 years when fair-value accounting methods are used.

“Market forces should dictate trade flows, not bureaucrats and politicians,” Chocola said. “The sooner we can shut down this corporate welfare dispensary, the better.”

In The New York Times, op-ed columnist Joe Nocera rallied to the support of the Ex-Im Bank.

“Last year, it helped 3,413 small companies start or expand their export business. It also helped Boeing land aircraft sales against Airbus. In the aftermath of the financial crisis, the Ex-Im Bank stepped in because banks had become skittish. It exists precisely because markets aren’t perfect,” he said.

The agency has been in the news lately because it needs reauthorization by Congress to continue its operations. Kevin McCarthy, the California Republican who is the new House majority leader, does not support reauthorization.

The Wall Street Journal said the agency is at a “cross-roads,” and said unnamed sources reported the bank has “suspended or removed four officials in recent months amid investigations into allegations of gifts and kickbacks, as well as attempts to steer federal contracts to favored companies.”

Nocera noted both the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers have come out in support of reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank.

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