In a recent column on this website, University of Chicago lecturer Frank Schell proposed reforming the Export-Import Bank instead of abolishing it. This piece takes the opposite view. The bank, Ex-Im for short, cannot be effectively reformed for two reasons. First, Congress has no appetite for substantive changes. Second, corruption and favoritism are inevitable consequences of Ex-Im’s very mission. As such, Congress should let the agency’s charter expire.
The Export-Import Bank makes loans and offers loan guarantees to U.S.-based exporters and their foreign customers. The agency requires periodic reauthorization from Congress, or else it will close. The next deadline is on June 30. All Congress needs to do is sit on its hands. Yet, even that seems too much for this timid bunch.