The Export-Import Bank of the United States, more commonly known as Ex-Im Bank, is fighting for its life, now that its eighty-year-old charter is up for renewal by Congress. The new leadership and conservative wing in the House of Representatives view Ex-Im Bank as an entitlement for private enterprise, an example of corporate welfare and so-called crony capitalism. But before overreacting, Congress should consider the facts about Ex-Im Bank’s mission to support American jobs, its performance, and the possible consequences of its demise.
In view of systemic bad credit practices, the economic meltdown, and the destruction of part of Wall Street in 2008, there is no shortage of sniping at anything with “bank” in its name, or for that matter, anything resembling a harbor for the one percent. When he was a presidential candidate, Barack Obama himself called Ex-Im Bank an example of corporate welfare, although in 2012 when he extended its existence for two years, he emphasized the need for American export competitiveness.