May 6, 2015

RICK PERRY FLIPS ON EX-IM BANK:  In a Wall Street Journal oped today, former Texas Governor Rick Perry announces he has changed his position on the U.S. Export-Import Bank, now opposing its reauthorization:

Next month, the bank comes up for reauthorization again—but this time I can’t get on board. I have been deeply disturbed by recent revelations of corruption and bribery at the institution. On April 13 the Justice Department announced that a former Ex-Im loan officer, Johnny Gutierrez, had pleaded guilty to accepting bribes on 19 separate occasions from people with interests before the bank. Michael McCarthy, Ex-Im’s acting inspector general, has told Congress that there are 31 corruption and fraud investigations into the bank still pending.

Those at Ex-Im who have abused the public trust must be pursued to the full extent of the law. But it may be that the best way to mend Ex-Im is to end it.

Perry’s right: The Bank should be allowed to die. As George Will recently put it,

The bank, which exists to allocate credit by criteria other than the market’s preference for efficiency, mirrors the market-distorting policies of foreign governments. These policies favor those countries’ exports that compete with America’s. Much of what the bank does is supposedly to “level the playing field.

Revelations about Ex-Im Bank officials’ receipt of kickbacks should be the nail in this New Deal vestige’s coffin.  But Perry will take some political heat if/when he decides to announce his 2016 presidential bid.  But Republican realization–at least the tea party wing of the GOP–that the Bank is just a form of progressive corporate welfare isn’t unique to Perry. Unfortunately, Republican establishment types such as House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have mouthed opposition but are being (typically) wishy-washy and proceeding to floor votes allowing reauthorization.

It just goes to show you:  The “business community” is now addicted to corporate welfare and crony capitalism, and the Democrats (and their establishment Republican comrades) are enabling the addiction.

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