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NTU in strong support of H.R. 4268, the "Export-Import Bank Termination Act of 2012."

April 5, 2012
By Nan Swift

The Honorable Justin Amash
United States House of Representatives
114 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representative Amash:

On behalf of the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU), I write in strong support of H.R. 4268, your “Export-Import Bank Termination Act of 2012.” This bill would wind down the activities  of the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank) over three years, bringing to an end a program with dubious benefits and serious liabilities for taxpayers..

Under the guise of helping American business, a majority of Ex-Im Bank financing uses taxpayer dollars to back overseas sales for large, profitable companies like Boeing, John Deere, Caterpillar, Dell, and GE – businesses that certainly do not need a government handout. Total U.S. exports for 2011 came to $2.1 trillion. During the same year, the Ex-Im Bank approved $32.7 billion in loans, just over 1.5% of our total exports. As markets open and grow, our exports will rise without unnecessary subsidies from Ex-Im. This kind of crony capitalism only encourages wasteful spending and does not serve the interests of taxpayers.

Created in 1934 as part of the New Deal, the Ex-Im Bank has become, as President Obama himself stated on the campaign trail in 2008, “little more than a fund for corporate welfare.”  Like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Ex-Im Bank exposes taxpayers to considerable risk and substantially distorts markets. When government picks winners, the real losers are the American people as witnessed by debacles like Solyndra, a company that received Ex-Im funding. Proponents of the bank cite its role in filling private funding gaps, but those gaps argue for its elimination, not its continuance. If private entities are unwilling to risk their own money, it should serve as a warning sign that tax dollars shouldn’t be exposed either.

Free-market conservatives aren’t the only ones calling for an end to the Ex-Im Bank. Late last year, NTU joined with the liberal U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) to outline $1 trillion in specific spending reductions the “Supercommittee” could pursue, including elimination of the Export-Import Bank. While NTU and U.S. PIRG differ on the appropriate size and scope of the federal government, we were united in our belief that the Ex-Im Bank is an anachronistic corporate welfare program that should be ended immediately.

Your legislation is an important opportunity to take a positive step toward smaller and smarter government by terminating the Ex-Im Bank. NTU congratulates you for its introduction, and urges all Representatives to cosponsor H.R. 4268 as well as work toward its enactment in this Congress.


Nan Swift                                                                       
Federal Affairs Manager