Democrats Support Subsidies for the Rich

They fight for taxpayer subsidies for the rich while claiming to stand against income inequality.

It is a shame that half of Republicans support the Export-Import Bank, but it is telling that nearly all Democrats do so. This was documented recently in the Washington Examiner:

In order to overcome the opposition of the House majority leader, speaker-elect, the House Financial Services Committee chairman, and most Republicans on the committee, Democrats got behind a Discharge Petition that eventually moved Ex-Im reauthorization to the floor.

More than 150 Democrats signed the petition, to the cheers of K Street lobbyists and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Many of them did so almost in the same breath that they excoriated Republicans for being too chummy with corporate America.

Cathy Castor, a Florida Democrat, walked straight from signing the pro-Ex-Im petition to railing against “an irresponsible giveaway to Big Oil.” The “giveaway” was a bill allowing the export of oil. But Castor was fine with subsidizing other exports, including billions of oil and gas industry exports. Pemex, Mexico’s state-founded oil company, is Ex-Im’s biggest single recipient.

Democrat Bobby Rush, seconds after accusing Republicans of “a multibillion-dollar boondoggle for the energy industry,” walked to the well of the House and signed the Ex-Im petition. On its website, Ex-Im brags, “From fiscal 2001 to the present, Ex-Im Bank has provided commitments totaling $14.8 billion dollars for 78 transactions/projects in the Petroleum Sector.”

This is the norm: Democrats attack Republicans as shills for big business, then Democrats go out and approve billions in corporate welfare while raking in the lobbyist cash. Obama has been a leader in this sort of populist posturing and corporatist governing. Hillary Clinton promises to up the game.

[See also, “Chamber of Commerce Out for Revenge over Ex-Im Bank.”]

Make no mistake: the Ex-Im Bank means massive subsidies for the rich at taxpayer expense. It is inexcusable robber-baron behavior.

The Export-Import Bank is a federal agency that, up until its charter expired four months ago, subsidized U.S. exports through taxpayer-backed loans and guarantees. About 40 percent of Ex-Im’s financing was for one purpose: To subsidize Boeing sales. General Electric, Westinghouse, and other corporate giants also took huge slices of Ex-Im’s subsidy pie. The top 10 users of Ex-Im accounted for about two thirds of the agency’s subsidies.

Ex-Im was also corporate welfare for Wall Street. In a typical deal, the foreign buyer got a commercial loan from the likes of J.P. Morgan, and the U.S. taxpayer, through Ex-Im, would bail out the private bank if anything went wrong. “There’s nothing that a commercial bank loves more than guaranteed financing,” Citigroup executive director Michael Eckhart said at a recent Ex-Im annual conference. “That’s a good thing!”

Yet somehow the Democrats get away with posing as defenders of middle class and enemies of Big Business!