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Mike Lee on Dangers of the Crony Ex-Im Bank

5/22/2015

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT:

Hi, I am Senator Mike Lee.

Until recently, most Americans had never heard of the Export-Import Bank – even though it’s one of the oldest government institutions in the country, and even though it uses taxpayer dollars to subsidize and give loan guarantees to foreign buyers of U.S. exports.

But that changed a few weeks ago, because for the first time in its 81 year existence, the Export-Import Bank – or just “Ex-Im” – is on the verge of extinction.

So supporters and opponents of Ex-Im have launched advertising campaigns to make the case for and against the Bank.

Last week, during my monthly tele-townhall from Washington, I received a call from a Utah resident who told me about a radio commercial she heard that encouraged the people of Utah to support Ex-Im.

I was curious to know what these commercials in my home state were saying, so I had my staff track them down. Here is an excerpt from one of them...

The commercial is right that Utah jobs are in danger. In fact, jobs all across America are in danger. But fails to see the real source of that danger. 

It is simply false to say that letting the Export-Import Bank expire would hurt the economy and make American companies less competitive overseas. In fact, the opposite is true. Let me explain why.

There are two fundamental problems with the Export-Import Bank and other government programs like it. 

 

 “For every dollar Ex-Im spends to help one U.S. company sell its products overseas, it takes away a dollar from all the other U.S. companies trying to export their products without the help of Ex-Im.”

 

 First, Ex-Im is a perfect example of how government programs that foster cozy relationships between political and economic insiders are the breeding ground of cronyism and corruption. 

Indeed, the Bank is currently the subject of 31 corruption and fraud investigations, and a former employee was recently found guilty of accepting bribes on 19 different occasions.

But aside from its ethical problems, Ex-Im is bad for American jobs and bad for the economy.

For every dollar Ex-Im spends to help one U.S. company sell its products overseas, it takes away a dollar from all the other U.S. companies trying to export their products without the help of Ex-Im.

This is a classic case of government picking winners and losers in the marketplace... which always produces more losers than winners. 

We usually only hear about the winners, because the benefits of a program like Ex-Im are concentrated among a few wealthy and well-connected companies, whereas the costs are spread out among everyone else.

But Ex-Im is so harmful to the economy that it’s not difficult to find people who are hurt by it.

In fact, during my March tele-townhall, I received a call from a Delta pilot who knew first-hand how Ex-Im puts American jobs in danger.

The biggest beneficiary of Ex-Im is Boeing, which receives roughly one-third of the Bank’s financing each year. This is good for Boeing. And it’s good for the foreign airlines that buy Boeing’s airplanes. But it’s bad for companies, like Delta, that compete with those foreign airlines.

Take a look at what this pilot had to say...

There are many things Congress can do to help American businesses and their employees, but renewing the Export-Import Bank’s charter is not one of them. That’s why I’m working with my colleagues in Congress to make sure that 2015 is the year we finally retire Ex-Im and begin to put the federal government back on the side of the working families Washington’s broken status quo is leaving behind.

- Senator Mike Lee (R-UT)

Source: https://www.conservativereview.com/commentary/2015/05/video-mike-lee-on-dangers-of-the-crony-ex-im-bank#sthash.pYrvpN3I.dpuf