The Corner

Economy & Business

Note to Ex-Im: Putting Taxpayers on the Hook for Billions Isn’t What ‘Capitalism Is About’

Kevin Cirilli at the Hill has a piece yesterday about the waste and abuse at the Ex-Im Bank, which includes a quote by the bank’s president, Fred Hochberg, trying to downplay all the Ex-Im loans that have defaulted.

That quote shows his profound misunderstanding of the difference between government intervention and capitalism. Hochberg:

From time to time, a deal will experience difficulties. That’s what capitalism is about. Everything doesn’t go perfectly according to plan, sometimes deals do better than expected, sometimes worse, sometimes exactly.

To put it simply: Yes, in the private sector, some loans default. But in a capitalist system, capitalists shoulder the cost of the failure, not taxpayers. 

On that note, taxpayers are on the hook for roughly $140,000,000,000. And Ex-Im doesn’t properly track its default rate or do the right kinds of projections for the risk it’s taking on. Does that sound like capitalism to you?

Veronique de Rugy is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

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