Created during the Great Depression, the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) of the United States has been in operation as a financier to facilitate the purchase of American goods and services by foreign businesses and governments. While allegedly self-sustaining, the Ex-Im Bank is a government credit agency operating under the Executive branch. And since loans offered by Ex-Im Bank are riskier in nature, they require the backing of the full faith and credit of the United States. In other words, taxpayers are on the hook for any losses.
Despite claims that the Ex-Im Bank is necessary in order to fill gaps in the private financing market, the bank has essentially become a taxpayer-funded cash cow for crony capitalism benefiting huge corporations such as Boeing and General Electric. And it’s this corporate welfare that led to efforts by Conservatives to see the Ex-Im Bank terminated; an effort that had some success until the Washington Establishment moved in.
In 2015, the Ex-Im Bank charter was up for renewal. And behind the leadership of House Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) along with House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan, chances looked good for shutting it down. That’s when Sen. Mitch McConnell and Rep. John Boehner stepped in, and using a series of procedural moves to hijack the effort, they ensured an extension of the charter through September 2019.
Amazingly, even with the setback by Mickey and Company, this “success” was temporary thanks to former Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee Sen. Richard Shelby. The Alabama Senator used a procedural move of his own when he blocked Obama’s nominees to serve on the Ex-Im Bank Board, thus preventing the agency from doing business.
Unfortunately, Donald Trump has now entered the picture, and that’s bad news. Even though he promised to see the Ex-Im “die”–as recently as two months ago–The Donald has chucked that promise into his ever-growing pile of what KellyAnne Conway would call “alternative facts.” In other words, he lied! After discussions with Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), and the CEO of Boeing Company (one of the primary beneficiaries of Ex-Im Bank), Trump has agreed to submit nominees to fill the open seats on the Ex-Im Bank Board, thus making it possible for the bank to resume its corporate welfare program.
The Ex-Im Bank has been a bad deal for years, and it’s still a bad deal under Trump. Maybe he should consider changing his campaign slogan. Instead of Make America Great Again™, maybe he can change it to Make Crony Capitalism Great Again or Make Corporate Welfare Great Again.
I’ll let you decide.
David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative, your source for opinion that’s politically incorrect and always “right.” His articles can also be found on RedState.com.
His daily radio commentary is nationally syndicated with Salem Radio Network and can be heard on stations across America.