Ex-Im Bank: The Facts

 President Obama was against Ex-Im before he figured out how to use it for political and financial gain.
(This is a third party video.)

This week, there has been discussion from the Republican candidate, as well as the Democratic candidate, about the Ex-Im Bank Reauthorization Act. As expected, both sides are crafting their talking points to make the other side look bad, while both essentially support the Ex-Im Bank.

What the American people aren’t seeing here, are facts.

FACTS

Fact: The program was first started by an Executive Order from FDR in 1934, as a foreign policy tool to allow FDR to provide aid to Stalin in the Soviet Union, against Germany. Then it immediately expanded to a second Ex-Im Bank to do business with Cuba. With no Congressional oversight. By the late 1930’s our government was using Ex-Im to assist China, against Japan.

Fact: In 1945, Congress turned it into an independent agency called The Ex-Im Bank.

Fact: Ex-Im is, and always has been, a political tool to help foreign allies, not American businesses.

Fact: Many governments have their own version of an Ex-Im Bank.

Fact: 80% of program participants nationwide are small businesses.

Fact: Only 2% of all US exports participate in the Ex-Im Bank programs (98% of exporters do not rely on it for exporting).

Fact: In Wisconsin’s Third Congressional District, there are only 9 businesses that are participating in Ex-Im Bank programs.

Fact: 8 of those are listed as small businesses.

Fact: One is listed as minority owned.

Fact: In 2013-2014 Ex-Im Bank directly supported more than $27,000,000 in exports from our district.

Fact: The top 3 export destinations from the Third District were The Netherlands, Canada and The UK.

Fact: If not re-authorized by September 30th, 2014, the bank’s charter will expire and the program will end.

POLITICS AS USUAL

What Americans are not aware of is the huge sums of money given to Congress, the Senate and even the President VIA campaign contributions directly from Ex-Im Bank employees as well as the major corporations that directly benefit from Ex-Im, such as Boeing. In the past 7 years, Barack Obama has taken in tens of thousands of dollars in contributions, which explains why he suddenly reversed course on Ex-Im. Obama initially opposed Ex-Im, but as soon as the money started rolling in, he supported them. Our research on these donations using opensecrets.org indicates that more than 90% of Ex-Im related contributions flow directly into the hands of Democrats – and it is a lot of money. Naturally, Democrats will vote in favor of Ex-Im Bank since they have a financial interest in doing so.

In the 2008 election cycle Barack Obama took in 436 different donations from Boeing, including close to $10,000 from Stanley Roth, who was VP of Boeing’s “Government Relations” department.

PROBLEMS

Ex-Im Bank officials are currently under investigation for bribery. One even pleaded the 5th.

Ex-Im Bank takes your money, gives it to private businesses, to help other countries – and leaves you on the hook for the risk.

Ex-Im Bank customers immediately become pawns in a political game that changes every few years. each time Ex-Im must be reauthorized.

Ex-Im Bank does business with private US based companies who willingly choose to engage in risky transactions in unstable countries, which is why, many times, there are no private sector alternatives to turn to for help.

Ex-Im Bank gives millions of dollars in loans to the governments of unstable countries so that US based companies can sell their goods to those countries. This is taxpayer money being used as a form of foreign aid.

Ex-Im Bank has never been a small business based program, it was originally developed as a political tool to assist political allies, and it is still being used for that purpose today.

Ex-Im Bank plays politics when it chooses which governments and countries it will assist, and which it will not.

Ex-Im has been sued repeatedly for environmental abuses all over the world.

Ex-Im funded such ventures like Solyndra Solar, which went belly up on the taxpayer dime.

Ex-Im Bank transactions have favored Washington state by giving them 43% of Ex-Im business while our own state gets less than 2%.

As with most things government related, a program starts out for one purpose, and then with every reauthorization, it morphs into something else entirely. The rules change often because of politics, and participating businesses are subjected to those new rules, although their business model may have been based on the original rules.

According to the GAO, the CBO and the Inspector General of Ex-Im, Ex-Im risks are grossly understated and the benefits are overstated. The accounting methods used by Ex-Im will soon lead to the same problems that led taxpayers to be on the hook for  the TARP Wall Street bailouts.

Although nearly all Democrats vote in favor of it and some Republicans have historically voted in favor of it, the abuse of Ex-Im by large corporations is staggering. Large, profitable corporations should have no right to parlay taxpayer money and taxpayer risk into profit for their businesses. Some of the beneficiaries of Ex-Im are Boeing, Halliburton, Enron, and we even financed nuclear power for China.

While ExIm is promoted as being beneficial to business, this is not universally so.  Witness the Delta lawsuit attempting to stop Ex-Im from subsidizing sales of Boeing aircraft to its foreign competitors.  Artificially low interest rates given the foreign companies gives them a competitive advantage over US based airlines which receive no such subsidies, making it harder for US businesses to compete.

SOLUTIONS

Being mindful that businesses large and small, as well as the American taxpayers, have a major stake in the Ex-Im Bank programs, it would be irresponsible to suggest that we just get rid of it. If we were to pull the plug on it tomorrow, what would happen to all the outstanding debt and guarantees? What would happen to the business contracts that were set up as a result of participating in Ex-Im? What would happen to the over 200,000 employees who are employed because of Ex-Im Bank participation?

Ken will:

Work to phase out Ex-Im Bank over a responsible and thoughtful period of time.

Initiate amendments which would prevent taxpayer funds going directly to foreign governments.

Set time limits on how long a private business can rely on Ex-Im Bank loans and subsidies (welfare).

Not allow large corporations to use Ex-Im funding as a form of corporate welfare.

Work to reduce other federal burdens on businesses large and small, so they will not need to rely on Ex-Im Bank funding.

Make sure that if any business wishes to willingly do business with another country that is unstable or risky, that those businesses take that risk and not ask Americans to assume the risk for them.

Make sure that ending the Ex-Im Bank will not leave taxpayers on the hook for billions in outstanding debt.

Posted in Issues, News
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