When the Ex-Im Bank can’t keep track of where their money goes or whether or not it actually helps support American workers, we’re left with a lot of what Secretary Rumsfeld would call “known unknowns” – we know this money is being spent, we’re just not sure how.
The “known knowns” that de Rugy’s research turns up – instances where we do know generally where the Ex-Im money went – are not encouraging either.
Three of the top five industry categories for Ex-Im financing since 2007 contain the word “aircraft” – specifically, these are “aircraft manufacturing” in the top spot, “large commercial jet aircraft” at number three, and finally, plain old “aircraft” at number five. Funding for these high-flying categories totaled $57.1 billion, 33 percent of Ex-Im’s business during this period.
It should come as no surprise, then, that Boeing is one of the largest beneficiaries of Ex-Im’s largesse. They just happen to specialize in “aircraft,” more specifically “aircraft manufacturing,” and even more specifically, “large commercial jet aircraft.”
In 2013 alone, Boeing received over $8 billion from the government – which would appear to give some credence to Ex-Im’s nickname of “Boeing’s Bank” – while reporting earnings of nearly $90 billion. And supporting American jobs? Research shows that Ex-Im’s loans to foreign and often state-owned carriers to purchase Boeing aircraft cost the U.S. airline industry 7,500 jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars.
The “unknown knowns” and the “known knowns” in this new Ex-Im research are both cause for concern, and the call into question the Bank’s stewardship of American tax dollars. Ex-Im’s charter expires on September 30th and these concerns should be borne in mind as Congress considers the question of renewal.