The Corner

Politics & Policy

LOL Story of the Day

President Joe Biden speaks at the White House in Washington, D.C., January 22, 2021. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

It comes to us from The Hill. This piece by Stephanie Taylor of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee makes the case that if Democrats want to win again in 2022 and in 2024, the Biden administration should spend significant energy informing the American people of the wonders that the government has delivered to them. The author suggests that, to achieve this goal, the administration “should even consider creating a new position based in the Executive Office.”

Apparently, President Obama lamented that his administration failed “to tell a story of progress to the American public” about the role he and his administration, and government in general, played in our lives — which is funny because I thought the “Life of Julia” and the “You didn’t built that” narratives were all about doing just that. But to be fair, he isn’t alone. That’s what is typically done by politicians looking to justify their importance and by bureaucrats looking to get more money for their programs.

But my favorite part of Taylor’s piece is when she turns to the Export-Import Bank as an example. This is amusing because President Obama has done just that many times over. Take this remarkable and telling clip, for example, in which he says that he has done so much to promote Boeing that he expects a gold watch from the company.

Also, Taylor should visit Ex-Im’s website and look at the press-releases section. It is packed full of Ex-Im officials bragging about how many jobs were created because that agency had done this and that wonderful thing. (Just to link to a few, see here, here, here, and here — all in January 2021 alone!) Most agencies, of course, do exactly the same. And politicians on the campaign trail are never shy about claiming (almost always unearned) credit for job creation.

But here is the best part of Taylor’s essay. She writes:

EXIM could become a critical tool in the building of a green economy, supporting loans towards American companies working in green technologies — major down payments on Biden’s Build Back Better promises.

That’s a great story to tell to gullible people who have no clue that a quarter of Ex-Im’s portfolio is — wait for it — oil and gas! In fact, extending financial products to U.S. companies to ship oil and gas equipment around the world is Ex-Im Bank’s second largest sector concentration, after the aircraft sector.

But it gets better still. Ex-Im’s favorite foreign customer is the Mexican state-owned oil firm, Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex). Before 2017 and going back at least 15 years, the Ex-Im Bank had more loans outstanding to Pemex than to any other borrower. In 2015, these loans totaled nearly $7 billion. Shortly before last November’s election, the Ex-Im Bank’s Board of Directors pushed through an additional $400 million in financing to Pemex. And you know what? Kimberley Reed, who was then chairman of the bank, bragged about all the jobs she was creating in the U.S. by extending cheap loans to the super corrupt state-owned Mexican oil and gas firm.

I wrote last September about the Ex-Im Bank’s long and deep relationship with Pemex when the Ex-Im Bank was approving this most recent loan. So honestly, if the Ex-Im is ever going to “become a critical tool in the building of a green economy,” the Biden administration better change its business model. Pandering to the American people won’t do the trick.

While I’m on the topic, I should note that the last time I looked at Ex-Im’s green-energy portfolio, what I found was not pretty. It was more of the crony double dipping by large companies that we are used to with government-granted privileges.

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