The ExIm is dead, long live the ExIm!
You either have to be deaf, have turned off your hearing aid or have developed new skills at ignoring the public noise if you haven’t heard the arguments about reauthorizing the Export Import Bank. And there are lots of them!
We come down for a compromise; remember that’s that thing when two people with differing views get together and find a common approach to a difficult issue.
If things go as they are scheduled, the ExIm Bank goes out of existence June 30. The Congress, facing a recess has lots of other things on its plate, in theory at least ahead of any attempt to renew the Bank’s life. One of those Congressional tricky tricks, attaching a reauthorization to the already complicated highway bill [which also expires July 31], has been denounced out of hand. [Its major sponsor says he will take up cudgels against his own bill if that happens!]
The debate over extending the Bank’s life mostly comes down to two or three arguments: it helps American industry finance exports which creates jobs. Everybody else in the industrial and agricuotural export business has something similar. It returns money to the taxpayer from its profits.
The arguments against are as strong, or to our way of thinking stronger: it primarily helps a few big exporters, maybe indirectly hurting some American competitors. Good products at competitive prices beat the competition, and we shouldn’t be in a subsidy game with the European, Japanese and Chinese state trad. There is some creative accounting with the Bank’s books and you can make the argument the taxpayer is picking up its real deficit.
Here’s what we suggest: let’s let the Bank as it is now constituted go the way of all flesh, but never a Washington bureaucracy alas! After all, the Bank was created back in the prehistoric period of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s desperate effort to get the U.S. economy going, even with exports to the Soviet Union [which only World War II did!]
But let’s take a little time in the next months in the Congress and address the arguments of the opponents of the Bank and come up with a new ExIm. That ought to be one, for example, which would somehow eschew supporting a few big corporations and funding the smaller entrepreneurs, who really need it, so much talked about so often neglected.. We are sure, too, that there are other suggestions about how a rather tired and superannuated institution could be recreated in a new and more advantageous form for the business community – and the taxpayer.