House conservatives complained loudly about the Export-Import Bank during last year’s midterm campaign. The hope was, with Republicans controlling both houses of Congress, that conservatives could find the will to kill the program -- which, by the way, should be relatively easy. If Congress does nothing, the Ex-Im’s charter will expire.
The president of the nation's largest manufacturing trade group says a vote against reauthorizing the Export Import Bank is a vote to send U.S. jobs overseas.
Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), will re-launch NAM's 2015 battle against the bank's Tea Party critics in Minneapolis on Wednesday. …
Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.) introduced legislation last month along with 47 Republican co-sponsors that would reauthorize the bank for five years. House Democrats, led by Reps. Maxine Waters (Calif.), Gwen Moore (Wis.) and Denny Heck (Wash.), have plans to introduce a Democratic version of the bill.
My new book on political corruption is being released today. I planned originally to have a lengthy section on Ex-Im, but space constraints were such that I had to leave it on the cutting room floor (unfortunately, I came to this conclusion after I bought the ridiculously expensive, yet authoritative history on Ex-Im!). Still, Ex-Im is a prime example of corporate welfare that does little for the country at large. I do not think it is an example of corruption by way of extortion, bribery, kickbacks, etc. Even so, it is an example of the government using public dollars to favor private factions, with little or no benefit for the collective good.
What makes Ex-Im especially noteworthy is how narrowly its benefits are distributed. So, in theory, that should make it more vulnerable. A federal program that ensnares more factions is more likely to resist reform, as various interest groups can coordinate their defense. Ex-Im’s client list is quite narrow, and yet Congress looks set to keep it in place.
That just goes to show how entrenched corruption is in the body politic. It reminds me of one of the most ridiculous examples of corruption I came across, the waste in the Government Printing Office (GPO). Normally, I roll my eyes when people quote themselves, so I hope you will forgive the indulgence. The following is taken from Chapter 10 of my book, A Republic No More: Big Government and the Rise of American Political Corruption:
Well, this was predictable. House Republicans last week acceded to an extension of the Export-Import Bank for at least the next nine months. The Export-Import Bank is far from the worst example of government-business cronyism. I just completed a history of American political corruption and actually had to leave Ex-Im on the cutting room floor. Its cronies are pikers compared with the corporate moguls that take advantage of tax preferences like the G.E. and Apple loopholes.
This year’s turbulent primary season, which hit a crescendo this month with David Brat’s upset victory over House majority leader Eric Cantor in the Republican primary for Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, is an opportunity for conservatives to reflect. Why have our political leaders struggled so much to capture the enthusiasm of the conservative grassroots? Why did Republicans fail to win power in the last national election, despite wide distaste for the president’s signature legislation? Is the Tea Party’s agenda the solution to that failure or the problem?
Two car companies – Toyota and GM – some of whose vehicles are having engineering problems serious enough to be a safety risk and require massive recalls. One is investigated by Congress and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration while the other is not … until very recently, that is. Toyota, the company that did face government investigation and sanctions is, of course, not even an “American” corporation. GM is. And was, for a time, a ward of the state.
President Obama attended a Democratic fund raising event in Weston, Massachusetts Wednesday night at the home of Alan and Susan Solomont. Among the 60 attendees were a number of high-profile Democrats, according to the Boston Globe:
It seems that not all outsourcing is equal ... or something like that. Take, for instance, the building of an automobile known as the Fisker. This is the car that teen-throb Justin Bieber was driving when busted for speeding not so long ago. The Fisker is a set of wheels that appeals to socially conscious one-percenters. An electric sports car that tops out at well over 100 mph, the speed at which a cop said Bieber was traveling, even though the citation read a mere 80 mph. The car retails for over $100k but buyers get a $7,500 tax rebate, which certainly must have incentivized Bieber to buy his Fisker. Also Leonardo DiCaprio, another Fisker owner.
At a campaign event in Pennsylvania, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said that "Liberal policies don't make good jobs," before critiquing Obamacare, overbearing regulations, slow job growth, and a slew of other Obama policies. Romney also focused on crony capitalism in the Obama administration and said he's "ashamed" of this practice.
Mitt Romney's latest web ad targets President Obama's inability to create jobs, the failures of the Department of Energy's loan guarantee program, and "contracts steered to ‘friends & family.'" Watch here:
The crony capitalism represented by the failed “green energy” firm Solyndra has gotten a lot of media attention lately, but much lower on the public’s radar is a much bigger example of corporate pork over at the national space agency—and it’s bipartisan. Let’s call it Shuttlyndra.
Here’s how it works.
A little over a year ago, Congress approved a NASA authorization bill that mandated the agency to spend billions in taxpayer dollars over the next few years on a congressionally specified giant rocket with no defined mission and no budgets with which to build payloads for it.