Club for Growth targets Rep. Bruce Westerman on Export-Import Bank | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Club for Growth targets Rep. Bruce Westerman on Export-Import Bank

Posted By on Thu, Jun 11, 2015 at 4:28 PM

GOP funding overlords the Club for Growth are making a big push against the Export-Import Bank, the government agency subsidizing foreign purchasers of American-made products. The Club is targeting U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman, undecided on whether to vote to re-authorize the Ex-Im Bank, with an ad that's out today in Little Rock and Fort Smith markets (see above). 

Here's an explainer on the Ex-Im Bank put together by Ezra Klein over at Vox. The Ex-Im Bank's charter expires on June 30; some on the right and the left deride the institution as "crony capitalism" (President Obama called it "corporate welfare" in his 2008 campaign but supports it nowadays, along with most business-friendly mainstreams Dems and Republicans). The Chamber of Commerce and more or less every business interest in the country supports re-authorizing the the Ex-Im Bank, but opposition to it has become a cause among some Tea Party activists, lawmakers, and advocacy groups — as well as "reform conservative" pundits. 

Paul Krugman has argued that while there is some merit to killing the Ex-Im Bank, doing so now would likely cost jobs: 

So it looks quite likely that the Tea Party will claim a scalp from the business lobby, and kill the Export-Import Bank. And there is a case for doing away with the lender – except that this is the worst possible time for it.

Under normal circumstances, we can argue that ExIm neither improves the US trade balance nor creates jobs. Even if it does succeed in increasing some exports, the standard view would be that any expansion of the US economy would be choked off by a rise in interest rates as the Fed tries to prevent overheating, which would lead to a rise in the dollar, which would lead to a fall in other exports and/or a rise in imports. So you can claim that ExIm is mercantilist trade policy, and counterproductive.

Against this you can make various strategic trade policy arguments, but the case for a special export lender is weak at best.

Right now, however, we’re at the zero lower bound, which means that the Fed won’t raise rates. As I’ve said a number of times, under current conditions mercantilism works – so this is exactly the moment when ending an export-support program really would cost jobs.

The Club for Growth's ad explains all the wonky details of the Ex-Im Bank for the Arkansas public. Kidding! The ad basically states that Obama and Hillary Clinton support re-authorizing the agency AND THAT IS ALL BRUCE WESTERMAN NEEDS TO KNOW. 

It sounds like a combination of Democrats and pro-Ex-Im Republicans have a filibuster-proof supermajority, but  the GOP leadership in both chambers opposes re-authorization and could prevent a vote by the June 30 deadline. 

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