The battle over the reauthorization of the Ex-Im bank is purely ideological, and I’m not talking about the “ideological purity” that conservatives are supposedly going for when they speak out against the bank. I’m talking about liberal ideology and the chains from which liberal politicians refuse to break free. It need not be explained how often we see liberal politicians choose politics over actual governance, so it is equally unsurprising when we realize the real reasons behind liberal support of this truly unnecessary bank.
Put simply, the Ex-Im Bank is an export-financing agency in which the government insures the exports of corporations and small businesses so they can confidently get involved in markets abroad. It is frankly a way that the government helps companies to compete abroad with less risk. Such export financing agencies also exist in the majority of the main trading partners of the US.
From the bank’s establishment by FDR in 1934 through the proceeding decades when the bank was still new, I’m sure it successfully created the competitiveness that American businesses needed. But, looking at American government today, have we ever seen a government agency begin to carry out objectives far beyond what was called for in its original charter? Of course we have. That’s what today’s government does. The Ex-Im Bank has become an institution that only efficiently finances the exports of a select number of big businesses. The top ten beneficiaries of the bank, including Boeing and General Electric, are all extremely large corporations that make up 76% of the bank’s export financing. Boeing alone accounted for more than one-third of the bank’s financial assistance from 2007 to 2013. No wonder it has received the moniker of “the Boeing bank.”
So why do liberals wish to keep open a bank that so obviously supports the big businesses that they have continually labeled as greedy, corrupt, and an infinite amount of other negative adjectives? The answer is simple: ideology. The utopia where government has its hand in every aspect of life is so enthralling to the liberal mind that it trumps over all other aspects of their ideology, including their anti-business mindset. In this newly formed ideological battle between their mutual love for anti-bug business legislation and pro-big government lifestyle, liberals are taking the side of the lesser evil by supporting the federal subsidy of big business as long as it allows for government intervention and regulation to remain alive and well.
As they tend to do, liberal proponents of re-authorization argue points that are flat-out wrong. (Whether or not they realize this is a difference topic for a different article.) They plead that ending the Ex-Im Bank would result in a loss of an abundance of jobs, while the truth is that the bank only accounts for little more than 2% of export-related job creation. An even smaller percentage of 1.6% represents all Ex-Im backed exports. You read that correctly: 98.4% of American exports are achieved without any help from the Ex-Im Bank. When compared to nations such as Germany (3.63%), China (12.5%), and Canada (20.29%), the American export-finance institution is pale in comparison in the percentage of positively effected exports. In other words, American exports seem to be competing pretty well in the global market with only a fraction being helped by government financing.
Liberal politicians, pundits, and writers are even arguing for authorization by pleading that Boeing would be in dire straits if the bank were to be eliminated. It would seemingly be catastrophic for the aircraft manufacturer to have to take its own financial risks and participate in foreign markets without the government’s help. Liberals arguing for a major corporation to pay less for something? From their nonstop barrage against Walmart to pay its employees more to their seemingly infinite desire to tax corporations, this stance represents the epitome of contradiction. Government intervention rules all.
Siding oneself with a political party will always call for some amount of ideological loyalty. That’s kind of the point. But what we are seeing from the left is an attempt at loyalty that goes so far that it is bordering on their own ideological betrayal. I cannot imagine a case in which conservatives would be in favor of government intervention if that very intervention were to result in prospering business. Not only would this never happen as government basically always hurts rather than helps business, the logic is completely backwards. Liberals are screaming “Down with big business!”, but if government intervention means big business may in fact benefit, their screams seem to fade. This is not a rant against the Ex-Im Bank, although its existence does seem to be continually unnecessary. This is a rant against the liberal love of government intervention.
The fact is that Boeing, and the numerous other large corporations the bank finances, would be fine without it. In the opinion of the general conservative, these companies would even be better off. By taking their own risks and not relying on government aid, a company such as Boeing would be forced to increase the value of its products if it wishes to compete with foreign competitors. It’s simple free-market economics. If you wish to be successful, make better products than your competitor. Relying on government help does not have a place in that equation. The left refuses to let go of their infatuation with any and all types of government aid, and even though President Obama himself labeled the Ex-Im Bank as “little more than a fund for corporate welfare” in 2008, he and his minions wish to keep this bank alive for the sake of government power.