The Grayson-Club For Growth Alliance … On the Ex-Im Bank

Posted: Jun 01, 2015 8:45 PM
The Grayson-Club For Growth Alliance … On the Ex-Im Bank

Of course, the Club for Growth disagree with Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) on pretty much everything, except the Export-Import Bank; an institution that has drawn the ire of conservative groups.  On their website, the bank, which was founded in 1934, is described as “the official export credit agency of the United States. Ex-Im Bank's mission is to assist in financing the export of U.S. goods and services to international markets. Ex-Im Bank enables U.S. companies — large and small — to turn export opportunities into real sales that help to maintain and create U.S. jobs and contribute to a stronger national economy." Americans for Prosperity is equally opposed to the bank and its renewal, viewing the institution as a bastion of crony capitalism. Presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) wants the bank to expire, despite his state being a beneficiary of the Ex-Im bank. Rubio said in real accounting, the bank actually costs costs taxpayers $200 million a year ($2 billion over the past ten years), it doesn’t create jobs, and it does little to boost exports. He also noted that better trade deals would be the better option to promote jobs and economic growth for all.

Yet, the Club for Growth’s media spot in support of Grayson over the Ex-Im bank shows how conservatives plan to meddle with the Sunshine State’s Democratic Senate primary, which could get messy (via Politico):

Florida Rep. Alan Grayson is getting some unlikely air cover as he considers a Senate campaign: The conservative Club for Growth is launching a television ad praising the liberal firebrand for his opposition to renewing the Export-Import Bank.

The group announced Tuesday that it would begin airing the ad boosting Grayson — and attacking national Democrats’ favored candidate, Rep. Patrick Murphy — on MSNBC and “other outlets in Florida,” but it didn’t specify where the spots would run or for how long or how much.

Alan Grayson opposes the Export-Import Bank, which spends billions of tax dollars on a handful of giant corporations,” the ad’s narrator says as images of private planes, a limo and stacks of hundred-dollar bills scroll in the background. “Patrick Murphy supports the Ex-Im Bank and wants to funnel billions more to corporate fat cats. … Tell your Democratic members of Congress to side with Grayson, not Murphy, and stop the Export-Import Bank’s outrageous corporate giveaways.”

Murphy’s camp is sure to dispute the description of his intentions in supporting the Ex-Im Bank.

The ad serves two purposes for conservatives. It furthers their efforts to stop the bank proposal, which they see as “corporate welfare.” The Club has already run ads in a half-dozen congressional districts where Republican members support the bank’s reauthorization.

But the ad also represents the first conservative effort to meddle in what could be a hard-fought and expensive Democratic primary. Democrats view Murphy as far more electable than Grayson in the general election: The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which has endorsed Murphy, has fanned the flames of a series of negative stories in recent weeks about Grayson.

So, what happens if the Ex-Im bank evaporates into thin air? Nothing (via Roll Call):

Start with concerns over jobs. The only way Ex-Im can label itself a “job creator” in the first place is by ignoring the jobs it destroys by giving foreign companies an advantage over their U.S. competitors. The Government Accountability Office concluded the bank’s ultimate effect is to “shift production among sectors within the economy rather than raise the overall level of employment in the economy” — read: It simply picks winners and losers.

Several examples illustrate this reality. When the bank touted job gains at Boeing after financing aircraft purchases for foreign airliners, it neglected to count the resulting loss of 7,500 U.S. airline industry jobs. Another example is a recent deal with an Australian iron ore producer owned by the country’s richest citizen. Four Democratic senators explained Ex-Im’s subsidy would “injure American iron ore and steel producers and their employees that are competing in the same global marketplace.”

Claims of economic Armageddon are similarly overblown. Overall, Ex-Im supports less than 2 percent of all U.S. exports. Of that amount, the overwhelming majority benefits just a handful of companies. In 2013, nearly two-thirds of Ex-Im’s total financing supported just 10 large corporations, while more than 90 percent of its loan guarantees benefited just five.

Far from eliminating thousands of jobs and killing the economy, allowing Ex-Im to expire will simply level the playing field for the other 98 percent of U.S. exports that have to compete without help from Ex-Im.

As for Hillary Clinton, her position when she was Secretary of State was to put the bank “on steroids,” adding that it helps American companies.

The bank is set to expire on June 30.