by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
President Obama calls in a new election ad for a new form of “economic patriotism.” The Washington Examiner‘s Tim Carney devotes his latest column to explaining that the president’s new term is just “corporatism dressed up as populism.”
Harping on how Romney wants to keep “tax breaks for companies that export jobs” is typical Obama spin. First, Obama makes it sound like Romney is proposing some sort of special tax break for outsourcers. He’s not — Romney is merely not supporting Obama’s special tax hike. Second, Obama implies that his tax proposal meaningfully affects federal revenue or corporate behavior.
It’s easy populism: You rile up the base by talking tough to corporations, but you don’t upset your big-business donors, because they know your policy wouldn’t make a bit of difference.
Meanwhile, the serious part of Obama’s “economic patriotism” does affect big business — the bailouts and corporate welfare that constitute Obama’s industrial policy.
Obama’s “economic patriotism” ad repeats his promise to double U.S. exports. His main tool for this initiative has been the Export-Import Bank, a federal agency that subsidizes U.S. exports. The agency issued $24.6 billion in loan guarantees in fiscal years 2009, 2010 and 2011, and $19.9 billion of that has subsidized Boeing exports — that’s 80 percent.
Obama is the top recipient of Boeing contributions this cycle, having brought in more than twice as much as Romney from the company’s employees and executives, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. In 2008, Obama raised five dollars from Boeing for every one dollar John McCain raised. Obama’s export czar is Boeing CEO Jerry McNerney.