by George Leef
That has been a rather hot topic lately. Back when he ran in 2008, Obama decried it as corporate welfare, but he has given no support (as far as I’m aware) to the forces now seeking to eliminate it. My guess is that plenty of cash from companies that benefit will keep flowing into Dem coffers as long as Obama sits the battle out.
In any case, Don Boudreaux has a good letter today, sparring with Wasington Post columnist Robert Samuelson on this issue:
Editor, Washington Post
1150 15th St., NW
Washington, DC 20071
Robert Samuelson generally opposes the Export-Import Bank. But he refuses to join the ranks of today’s Ex-Im opponents, in part because he believes that these opponents engage in “political theater” by “exaggerating Ex-Im’s importance” (“The misleading debate on the Export-Import Bank,” July 1).
Does Mr. Samuelson think that Ex-Im’s proponents are not political thespians? Nearly every serious economist knows that subsidizing exports (that is, paying foreigners to consume our products) makes us poorer. Yet the fictional and fanciful depiction – on Pennsylvania Avenue’s gaudiest stages – of government-engineered increases in exports as fonts of prosperity has drawn the adoring applause of generations of gullible audiences.
And does Mr. Samuelson suppose that Ex-Im’s proponents never exaggerate Ex-Im’s importance? In fact, Boeing and other beneficiaries of Ex-Im largess lobby incessantly in support of Ex-Im with grandiose warnings that shuttering Ex-Im would significantly damage America’s economy.
If Mr. Samuelson truly is put off by outlandish political theater and ridiculous exaggeration, he ought to be absolutely disgusted, not by Ex-Im’s opponents, but instead by the never-ending absurd theatrics of Ex-Im’sproponents.
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics