You can say whatever you want about Bernie Sanders but he has the merit of being one of the few (two?) Democrats in Congress to be against the incredibly crony Export-Import Bank. The same cannot be said for Hillary Clinton. In fact, as Tom Elliot noted last night, Clinton passionately and shamelessly argued in favor of Ex-Im during last night’s Democratic debate.
Call me naive but I still can’t get over the fact Democrats feel no shame supporting a program that domestically mostly benefits 10 giant U.S. companies and whose biggest beneficiary abroad is Pemex–the Mexican state-owner oil and gas giant. So much for being the saviors of small businesses and promoters of alternative-energy sources.
The most amusing part (in a very depressing kind of way) of the discussion was when Clinton repeated the canard that without Ex-Im our country’s No. 1 exporter, Boeing, wouldn’t be able to compete against Airbus. That’s ridiculous. Never mind that economists of all ideological backgrounds have amassed mountains of evidence that Ex-Im does not meaningfully improve U.S. exports or jobs, distorts international markets, and directly harms the 98 percent of unsubsidized workers, consumers, and exporters that don’t have friends in Washington.
But who cares about the Ex-Im’s victims as long as Clinton can protect her political alliance with Boeing. Back in 2014, my colleague Andrea Castillo and I wrote about that connection over at The Hill:
In April of this year, Clinton’s questionable relationship with Ex-Im’s top beneficiary, the Boeing Corporation, was revealed. The Washington Post reported that while serving as Secretary of State, Clinton “functioned as a powerful ally for Boeing’s business interests at home and abroad, while Boeing has invested resources in causes beneficial to Clinton’s public and political image.”
Although the State Department had developed ethics guidelines against assisting Boeing because of its “frequent reliance on the government for help negotiating overseas business,” Clinton ignored these prohibitions and negotiated a $2 million deal with the aerospace giant to host a pavilion at the World’s Fair. Shortly after Clinton shepherded a $3.7 billion aircraft purchase deal between Boeing and the Russian government in 2010—characterized in her own words as “a shameless pitch … to buy Boeing aircraft”— Boeing announced it would contribute $900,000 to the William J. Clinton Foundation.
More recently, Boeing’s Senior Vice President for Government Relations, Tim Keating, worked for the Ready for Hillary Super PAC, along with an “an array of well-connected Democratic lobbyists and politicos.” In her memoir, Clinton writes that she considered her role as Secretary of State to be as an “advocate-in-chief” for American corporations like Boeing, Caterpillar, and General Electric, two other top Ex-Im beneficiaries. Clearly, Clinton’s support of Ex-Im stems from her cozy relationships with some of the U.S.’s most powerful corporations, not average Americans and certainly not women and girls.
While Hillary Clinton and Boeing’s relationship may be “mutually beneficial,” the Export-Import Bank is certainly of no benefit to the average American.
Take a good look at this relationship and its victims, people. Because that’s what cronyism is all about.