Dear Member of Congress:
On behalf of the 362,000 members of the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), I urge you to oppose reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank) before its current authorization expires in May. The Ex-Im Bank distorts trade markets, is a vehicle for corporate welfare, and puts taxpayers at considerable risk. The time has come to end it.
Unfortunately, reauthorizing the Ex-Im Bank seems to be part of a trend of bad trade policies on Capitol Hill. Congress just passed ill-advised “countervailing duties” legislation to impose damaging taxes on imports from key trade partners like China and Vietnam. Reauthorizing Ex-Im will couple those self-destructive tax hikes with years of future export subsidies that would be precisely the type many lawmakers complain about when they originate from other countries.
These policies might benefit certain businesses that are struggling to compete, but widespread subsidies and import taxes ultimately harm our economy as a whole. They impose substantial risks on taxpayers, burden businesses dependent on stable input costs, drive up prices for consumers, and lead to myriad distortions and misallocations of resources. 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, that should serve as a clear warning sign that taxpayer dollars shouldn’t be exposed either. When government picks winners, the real losers are the American people as witnessed by debacles like Solyndra, a company that received Ex-Im funding.
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 the Export-Import Bank. While NTU and U.S. PIRG differ on the appropriate size and scope of the federal government, we were (and remain) united in our belief that the Ex-Im Bank is an anachronistic corporate welfare program that should be ended immediately.
All Members of Congress have an important opportunity to take a positive step toward smaller and smarter government by opposing reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank. A “NO” vote on reauthorization will be significantly-weighted as the pro-taxpayer position in our annual Rating of Congress.
Sincerely,Nan SwiftFederal Affairs Manager