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Delta Air Lines' Export-Import Bank proposal: Stop giving subsidies to our foreign competitors

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Timothy P. Carney,Boeing,Air Travel,Export Import Bank

Imagine you run a big U.S. company that competes against foreign companies. Imagine the U.S. government subsidizes your foreign competitors.

That's the position of Delta Air Lines.

The single biggest activity of the Export-Import Bank is subsidizing Boeing's sales to foreign airlines. That means foreign airlines get artificially low prices for their planes. Delta doesn't get such subsidies.

So when congressmen and Ex-Im officials say "Ex-Im creates jobs," they're thinking of the exporters, but ignoring that Ex-Im destroys jobs at places like Delta.

Many Republicans want to let Ex-Im's charter expire September 30, without renewing it. Other Republicans are looking for ways to reform the agency. Delta CEO Richard Anderson today proposed one such reform: Bar Ex-Im from financing the export of wide-body jets to foreign airlines — such as state-owned and profitable private airlines — that can get credit on the private credit market.

This would significantly curb Ex-Im's loan-guarantee program, which dedicates most of its dollars to subsidizing Boeing sales.

There are other victims of Export-Import Bank, of course — such as domestic competitors of the very few U.S. businesses to get subsidy exports. Or U.S. semiconductor makers competing against foreign semiconductor makers who get Ex-Im subsidies.

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