by George Leef
A clueless editorial in today’s New York Times regarding opposition to the Ex-Im Bank draws a devastating reply from Professor Don Boudreaux:
Editor, New York Times
620 Eighth Avenue
New York, NY 10018
Your support for the U.S. Export-Import Bank rests on poor reasoning (“Tea Party Mischief on Exports,” June 25). For example, you mistakenly conclude that, because opposition to the Ex-Im Bank is presently not a full-fledged political movement against all corporate welfare, opponents of the Bank are not sincerely interested in curbing corporate welfare. But in fact, sometimes it’s more practical to demolish an unsafe building brick by brick rather than to blow it up all at once.
More fundamentally, the reality that other governments subsidize the export sales of their domestic companies is no reason for the U.S. government to subsidize the export sales of American companies. The reason is that, contrary to your assumption, such subsidy payments harm rather than help the economies whose governments make them.
If you continue to believe that such payments pave the path to domestic prosperity, then you should immediately stop charging people to subscribe to your newspaper and start paying them to subscribe. Until and unless you start to practice what you preach, you should refrain from advising Americans that we ought to pay non-Americans to consume what we produce.
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics