POLITICS

Obama gives 83% of export loan guarantees to Boeing

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Timothy P. Carney

The Obama administration last year dedicated more than 80 percent of export loan guarantees to subsidizing a single company – Boeing.

The Export-Import Bank is a federal agency on which Obama has leaned heavily in his “Export Initiative,” and his “new economic patriotism.” Known as “Boeing’s Bank,” Ex-Im is a perfect example of why Obama’s “economic patriotism” is just corporate welfare dressed in populist rhetoric.

Ex-Im’s primary way of subsidizing exports is through loan guarantees: a private bank lends money to a foreign buyer (such as a foreign company or government) who is buying an American good. Ex-Im guarantees the loan, meaning that if the foreign buyer defaults, U.S. taxpayers foot the bill.

In fiscal year 2012, Ex-Im issued $14.7 billion in loan guarantees. $12.2 billion of that money subsidized Boeing sales.

That’s right: 82.7% of all of Ex-Im’s taxpayer-backed loan guarantees benefitted one corporation.

Ex-Im issued three loan guarantees of more than $1 billion last year – and all three were to benefit Boeing. The fourth-largest loan guarantee, of $922 million, did not subsidize Boeing Jets – it subsidized a Boeing satellite sale. If you count Ex-Im’s subsidies for Boeing sales only to Chile, Ethiopia, and Hong Kong, that’s already more money — upwards of $3 billion — than all of Ex-Im’s loan guarantees for every other U.S. exporter combined. And you’ve still got more than 30 Boeing loan guarantees left over

Boeing is cozy with Ex-Im and the administration. Boeing CEO Jim McNerney is chairman of Obama’s Export Council. Ex-Im just added, in effect, two Boeing seats to its board of directors: Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire, and Aerospace Workers union official Owen Herrnstadt.

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