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As Americans become increasingly aware of the U.S. Export-Import Bank and what it does, calls for its dissolution have increased. The public tolerance for corporate cronyism is at an all-time low, and the Ex-Im Bank’s primary mandate - providing taxpayer loans to companies that are too risky to be secured on the open market - runs directly counter to our instincts for what is right and fair.
Defenders of the Bank argue that it creates jobs by helping out companies. That assumes that the Bank’s budget wouldn’t be put to better use in the hands of taxpayers, who have to worry about little things like risk and solvency when managing their personal investments. These are things commonly ignored by a government gambling with other people’s money.
Adding to the indignation of blatant government favoritism for well-connected firms is the recent report from the Hill that the Ex-Im bank has exceeded its travel budget by $3 million over the last three years.
The obvious follow-up question is: Why are government banking executives spending so much on travel? Surely, it must be in service of the much ballyhooed job creation, or to lend support to those allegedly beleaguered companies who just can’t survive without the government’s help, right?
It turns out, the Ex-Im Bank has been overspending on travel primarily for the purposes of PR.
It seems that the bankers are getting nervous, as the uselessness of their jobs, largely ignored by the public since the Bank’s inception in 1934, has become common knowledge. This year, the Bank faces a very real possibility of not being reauthorized and seeing its funding dry up. The bureaucrats in charge therefore took it upon themselves to spend millions in an effort to convince people that what they do is actually valuable and worth paying for.
Like the fabled Ouroboros eating its own tail, the Bank is engaging is a perverse cycle of spending taxpayer money in order to continue to spend taxpayer money. On and on it goes while bureaucrats and executives at favored companies get rich at the expense of the rest of us. It would be almost funny if it weren’t so sickening.
If Congress does nothing, the Ex-Im Bank will expire on October 1st. Just like in most legislative issues, the best thing our senators can do is sit on their hands or stay home. But there are powerful interests that are working hard to get the Ex-Im Bank reauthorized. We need to make sure they don’t succeed.
Please contact your senators and ask them to stop giving your money to private companies. It’s time to let the Ex-Im Bank expire for good.