Two days ago, the Washington Post had a revealing article called “Facing extinction, Export-Import Bank courts more small businesses.” J. D. Harrison writes:
Under threat of extinction from Congress, the agency is working to reshape its image and brand itself an important tool for small businesses, rather than the massive corporate financing machine it is portrayed as by critics in Washington.
“Our bottom line is American jobs, but we also know that the bottom line for your small businesses is sales,” Export-Import Bank President Fred Hochberg said during the event. “Our products, our experts, our entire agency, it’s all here to break down the barriers that hold you back from winning global sales.”
What is disputed is whether those efforts mostly support small or large businesses.
I would argue this shouldn’t be disputed at all. Check out the two below charts, which show where Ex-Im’s money (well, yours, really) went last year. Ex-Im is a bank for Boeing, not small businesses:
An analysis of the charts:
In fiscal year 2014, Ex-Im authorized $10.8 billion in long-term loan guarantees, which is the Bank’s largest program. The first chart (left) shows that $7.4 billion of that amount, or 68.3 percent, belonged to Boeing. The second chart (center) shows that, of the $20.5 billion in total authorizations across all programs made by Ex-Im last year, 40 percent belonged to Boeing.
The bank’s defenders often tout Ex-Im’s support for small businesses, but as the final chart (right) shows, Boeing’s 40 percent share of total authorizations dwarfs the 25 percent share for all small businesses combined.
What will it take for people to start laughing the next time the bank pretends to be in business of helping small businesses? Read Peter Fricke at the Daily Caller for more on the issue.
And George Will had a great column over the weekend on the topic. He writes:
The bank’s costs are, however, more than financial. The bank takes a toll on the quality and equity of American life and politics by helping to make legitimate and routine the practice, which extends far beyond the bank, of allocating wealth to the politically well-connected. The inability of Republicans to end the bank by inaction illustrates the inertia of big government when buttressed by the clients it creates.
The whole thing is here.