POLITICS

Free-market populism: Lee & Amash propose bill to kill export-subsidy agency

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Business,Congress,Timothy P. Carney,Fiscal Policy

One federal agency that exists to subsidize U.S. exports dedicates a huge majority of its financing to subsidizing Boeing jets. It’s classic corporate welfare, in my view. Republicans say they believe in the free market, but most congressional Republicans voted to reauthorize the agency.

On Thursday, two conservatives — Sen. Mike Lee of Utah and Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan — introduced bills in their respective chambers to wind down the agency, which uses taxpayer-backed loans and loan guarantees to help U.S. companies sell overseas.

The statement included these quotes from the lawmakers’ press shops:

“The Export-Import Bank is a source of corporate welfare that puts taxpayers at unnecessary risk,” said Senator Lee.  “Instead of subsidizing exports, which encourages an international corporate subsidy bidding war, we should be using multilateral agreements to eliminate business subsidies in all nations.  The Ex-Im Bank has outlived its usefulness and it’s time to end the Bank’s market distortion and political cronyism.”

“The Export-Import Bank has always been a bad idea and needs to be shut down,” Rep. Amash said.  “Export subsidies, like those provided by the Export-Import Bank, serve only to enrich well-connected special interests at the expense of the rest of the country.”

This fits nicely with the free-market populism I advocated in my column Thursday as a way of reforming conservatism.

 

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