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The Ex-Im Bank and Other Screwy New Deal Programs

The Export-Import Bank was established in 1934 by FDR as part of the New Deal. It has outlived its welcome by 80 years. Here are a few other programs from the New Deal that, unlike Ex-Im, mercifully met their end decades ago.

• During his monetary reform programs, FDR made it illegal for private citizens to own gold, except in very small amounts, via Executive Order 6102. This was not reversed until 1974.

• FDR also instituted wage caps, forbidding employers from offering higher salaries to their workers. In order to compete for the best people, companies started offering perks such as employer-provided health care, which is largely responsible for the problems in the health care market today.

• At the same time that wages were prevented from rising, consumer prices were also prevented from falling too low, due to fears of deflation. When is the last time you complained about a price that was too low?

• The New Deal is widely known for its public works programs, but did you know that a series of hydroelectric dams built under the Tennessee Valley Authority displaced 15,000 families, and flooded an estimated 750,000 acres of land? This is just one of the make-work boondoggles government used to “create jobs.”

• In order to keep prices high and protect the agricultural sector, FDR ordered 6 million piglets killed and discarded. He also paid farmers to keep their land idle and allowed perfectly good crops to spoil.

• FDR raised the top marginal income tax rate to an astounding 90 percent in order to redistribute wealth.

• In order to raise revenue, the New Deal implemented a series of excise taxes on alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, matches, candy, chewing gum, margarine, fruit juice, soft drinks, cars, tires (including tires on wheelchairs), telephone calls, movie tickets, playing cards, electricity, and radios.

• FDR ordered all the banks in the country to close, and remain closed until he gave the word. Can you imagine a president wielding that kind of power today?

While most of the New Deal programs are long gone, the Export-Import Bank lingers on, a shameless tool for corporate welfare. Now, 80 years later, we finally have the chance to end it for good.