The great Frederic Bastiat once wrote:
There is only one difference between a bad economist and a good one: The bad economist confines himself to the visible effect; the good economist takes into account both the effect that can be seen and those effects that must be foreseen.
I think this line applies to lawmakers too. Too often, lawmakers focus on the visible consequences or beneficiaries of a government program program and they ignore the unseen consequences and victims. Take the Ex-Im Bank.
Over the past few months, I’ve often made the case that the fight over the reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank is one between the visible, powerful, and vocal beneficiaries of the program and its unseen and often silent victims. Now, thanks to my colleague at the Mercatus Center Matthew Mitchell, lawmakers won’t have to ignore these victims: He’s produced a short and wonderfully clear video on the topic. In five minutes, Mitchell does a great job showing why the Ex-Im Bank isn’t a “win win” for the United States:
Lawmakers can only continue the “Ex-Im is a win-win” charade if they listen to the testimony of Bastiat’s ”bad economists.” I testify on that same issue back in June and my testimony is here.