On the Ex-Im Bank, the old adage that good policy is good politics rings true. Not only could Republicans eliminate the Fannie Mae for exporters, but they could also paint Democrats as the party of cronyism and big business.
A quick glance at the Bank’s website reveals just how easy it is to make a case against this taxpayer-backed scheme. United Solar Systems, Evergreen Soar, Southwest Windpower, Abound Solar, Amonix….the list of green energy companies – many of which has failed – goes on and on.
The opportunities also exist beyond schemes like the Export-Import Bank.
Just this past week, Senate Republicans demonstrated some principle, killing a two-year extension of the Transaction Account Guarantee (TAG) program, which was created in the midst of the 2008 financial crisis. Heritage’s David John called it “bad policy.”
Over at the Examiner, however, Tim Carney offered a note of caution, explaining, the “GOP vote against TAG should be considered mostly a protest against Reid’s undemocratic ways.” He compared it to a “replay of last year’s fight over the Export-Import Bank” during which “Senate Republicans lined up against reauthorizing that export-subsidy agency at first, in protest of Reid’s heavy-handed management of the Senate.” But, as we now know, most Senate Republicans voted to reauthorize the Bank.
Unfortunately, Carney may be on to something. Just 20 Senate Republicans voted against TAG on the initial procedural motion. It was only after Harry Reid shut down the amendment process before it began did Republicans rally to kill the bill.
Flip-flopping would be a mistake, though.
Right now, Republicans should be shouting from every mountaintop that Democrats are the party of big business. Earlier this year, Mark Calabria explained most of the TAG-eligible deposits are “concentrated in the largest banks. The 19 largest banks, each with assets in excess of $100 billion, hold two-thirds of TAG deposits, more than the remaining 7,288 U.S. banks combined.”
Only one Senate Democrat voted to kill the program. The Obama administration supported it, despite testimony from their own Treasury Secretary that it wasn’t really needed. Which party is the party of big business? The GOP would be wise to seize this opportunity.