Congress shouldn't reauthorize the federal Export-Import Bank this year for the simple reason that the government shouldn't be in the banking business, with taxpayer-subsidized financing tinkering with markets.
The “Ex-Im,” which provides loans and loan guarantees along with credit insurance for U.S. exports, is facing an Oct. 1 shutdown without reauthorization. Proponents insist its 80-year track record supports American jobs through exports, The Hill newspaper reports. Opponents, including several conservative fiscal groups, say it's little more than a slush fund for the well connected.
“It is not fair when a company that is not as well connected doesn't have a level field to compete with its own products and services,” says Tim Phillips of Americans for Prosperity.
Consider, as well, that the field is dominated by commercial banks. About 98 percent of U.S. exports are financed without the Ex-Im's help, writes Diane Katz for The Heritage Foundation. As such, there's no reason public funding should be put at risk for loans that are otherwise available from well-established private institutions.
And never mind Ex-Im's operation issues, which have come under fire from both the Government Accountability Office and its own inspector general. The former says the bank's technology is “antiquated and inflexible,” with some components up to 30 years old.
The Export-Import Bank is dysfunctional and unnecessary. Congress should let it die.
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