Planet Gore

Correcting Sarah Palin and the WSJ

Ben Smith of Politico writes:

The government-run U.S. Export Import Bank is disputing Sarah Palin’s attack this morning on a proposed $2 billion loan to the Brazilian oil company Petrobras.

Palin complained that “the Obama White House is prepared to send more than 2 billion of your hard-earned tax dollars to Brazil so that the nation’s state-owned oil company, Petrobras, can drill offshore and create jobs developing its own resources” and that Obama “chooses to use American dollars in Brazil that will help to pay the salaries and benefits for Brazilians to drill for resources when the need and desire is great in America.”

A spokesman for the bank, Phil Cogan, noted to POLITICO that the bank does not rely on tax money and that Palin’s statement ignores the bank’s central function: To lend money to foreign companies for the purchase of American goods and services.

“It has to be produced by U.S. workers,” Cogan said. Palin’s statement refers to “creat[ing] jobs and health benefits in the U.S.”

“That’s exactly what a purchase financed by the U.S. government would do,” Cogan said.

In this case, Cogan said, the proposed loan would likely finance engineering services, sales of ships to service oil platforms, or drilling equipment.

“This is the government doing what it’s supposed to do: Create jobs and make sure that Americans get a fair shot at selling goods and services — not the British or the French or anyone else — and to help American workers compete on a level playing field,” Cogan said, noting that most developed countries have similar credit-export agencies.

Palin drew her criticism from a Wall Street Journal editorial which also doesn’t mention the bank’s basic function.

Investor’s Business Daily, however, did get the story correct — which we posted days before Palin and the WSJ.

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