End Corp Welfare -Ex/Im Bank Up for Reauthorization

Editor’s Note – Distorting the markets – that is what the Export/Import Bank really accomplishes, or should we say is a huge failure. This of course leads to political usefulness and it has been a tool used often. Obama’s selection of Fred P. Hochberg to run the bank is just another political pay back for support of crony capitalism.

OpenSecrets classified Hochberg as a major fundraising ‘bundler’ for the 2008 Obama campaign, collecting between 100,000 [sic] and $200,000.” He is the son of the founder of the Lillian Vernon mail order empire.

Fred P. Hochberg
Fred P. Hochberg

This bank makes great crony deals that defy logic and reason and you the taxpayer are the one on the hook, especially when their investments go belly-up. Please read the following then watch the short video below. It explains an awful lot and we need to stop the bank and Hochberg from being re-confirmed.

Read more here, and more Ex/Im crony capitalism here. There are many other examples as well.

It’s time to close the doors of the Export-Import Bank

By AL CARDENAS – Washington Examiner

Amid a flurry of recent scandals, one management failure is consistently overlooked — the Export-Import Bank of the United States. The Ex-Im was created during the Great Depression to help spur economic growth through international trade.

Originally, the agency sought to facilitate trade by financing and insuring foreign purchases of American goods. The Ex-Im’s goal was to increase the competitiveness of domestic companies by placing them on even footing with their foreign competitors.

Unfortunately, this plan has been derailed and the bank has become a detriment to American employers. The Ex-Im now reigns as the king of corporate welfare doling out subsidies to some of America’s wealthiest corporations.

Boeing, a company that earned roughly $80 billion in revenue last year, is the largest benefactor of Ex-Im’s corporate welfare. In 2012 alone, Boeing received more than 82 percent of Ex-Im’s total loan guarantees or roughly $12.2 billion.

What is worse is that these loans allowed foreign airlines to purchase Boeing aircraft at below-market rates and with advantageous terms; meanwhile, American carriers are forced to bear higher costs and less favorable loan terms and thus placed at a competitive disadvantage to their foreign counterparts.

According to some estimates, the Ex-Im has caused the U.S. airline industry to lose up to 7,500 jobs and approximately $684 million.

In addition to financing foreign rivals and distorting global markets, the Ex-Im also perverts the domestic economy by guaranteeing loans to companies of questionable financial health. Perhaps the most prominent example is Solyndra, a now bankrupt company that was politically connected to the Obama administration, benefited from a generous $10.3 million Ex-Im loan guarantee.

Solyndra is not the only instance of Ex-Im’s dubious track record; it has also guaranteed loans to a number of bankrupt companies, including Enron, threatening the loss of millions of taxpayer dollars. Simply put, the federal government’s track record of picking winners and losers is abysmal, especially considering the monies are backed by the goodwill of Joe and Jane Public.

In 2012, Congress passed legislation that reauthorized Ex-Im’s charter as lawmakers were no longer able to turn a blind eye to the bank’s egregious actions. As a result, the reauthorization legislation included language that called for Ex-Im officials to rein in their lending practices.MikeLeeEndExIm

Such language is critical because a reduction of loan guarantees helps control America’s exposure to risk, ultimately limiting taxpayers’ liability for a financial disaster, while also stemming policies that hurt employees and employers.

Further, the legislation was significant because it mandated that the Ex-Im analyze the impact of its financial transactions on American jobs. Yet, Ex-Im has thwarted congressional demands and refused to comply with the recent legislation.

Led by Ex-Im president Fred Hochberg (who’s currently up for Senate re-confirmation), the bank continues to authorize the subsidized sale of aircrafts at the expense of American carriers. In fact, the Ex-Im has been taken to court for failing to follow the law; specifically, for allegedly failing to comply with Congress’ mandate to consider the economic impact of its loans and make public any methodological guidelines for use in economic analyses.

In response to the risk posed by Ex-Im’s actions, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., recently introduced bills in their respective chambers to wind down the federal agency. The American Conservative Union has previously supported efforts to shut down this antiquated agency and stands with Lee and Amash in support of their recent legislation.

While it is important for America to increase exports, it is imperative that we do so in a fashion that does not promote cronyism by picking winners and losers, and put American jobs at risk. The American Conservative Union endorses the Lee-Amash legislation and an end to corporate welfare.

Al Cardenas is chairman of the American Conservative Union (ACU).

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Picking winners and losers – Not the purview of the Federal Government

Editor’s Note – The business of the people does not include investing your tax dollars into venture capital incubation companies. But when it comes to the ‘Green Agenda’, this administration is using the Van Jones play book for the sake of jobs, at least that is what they are saying. Jobs is one thing but going green is not the solution to our dependence on fossil fuels, foreign or domestic, and never will be. Our energy demand far out strips any solar or wind output, especially in economic terms. The government is chartered with performing policy that adheres to the law, and cozy crony capitalism is anathema to the law, and this activity is following the “Rule-of-Men” not the “Rule-of-Law” our foundations are set upon. Our voices need to be heard that the private sector is our economic machine, not the government picking and choosing winners and the EPA and White House simply throw sand in the gears for others.

59% Oppose Government Loan Help for Alternative Energy Company Like Solyndra

Rasmussen

The questionable financial dealings of solar panel manufacturer Solyndra and its ties to the Obama administration are drawing little public attention so far, but most voters agree government help is not the best way to develop alternative energy sources.

Solyndra - A case for the FBI, a case for the American Tax Payer

Fifty-seven percent (57%) of Likely U.S. Voters think free market competition is more likely than government subsidies and regulation to help the United States develop alternative sources of energy. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 27% believe government subsidies and regulations are the better way to go. Sixteen percent (16%) are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

But then 71% of voters say private sector companies and investors are better than government officials when it comes to determining the long-term benefits and potential of new technologies.  Sixty-four percent (64%) think it’s likely that if a private company which cannot find investors gets funding from the government, that money will be wasted.

If private investors aren’t willing to put money into a company, only 17% of voters think the federal government should provide loan guarantees or loans to help keep such a company in business. Fifty-nine percent (59%) say the government should not provide money for an alternative energy company after private investors refuse to invest in it. Twenty-three percent (23%) are not sure.

Solyndra received $535 million loan guarantees from the federal government after private investors refused to invest further. The company had strong political ties to the president including major campaign contributions.  A plurality (47%) of voters agrees that when business owners support a winning politician, they get special treatment when applying for government loan guarantees. Twenty-nine percent (29%) do not believe that to be true, while another 23% are not sure.

While most voters oppose government funding help for “alternative energy” companies that can’t attract private investment, they’ve evenly divided when asked specifically about “companies that want to develop solar or wind power.” Forty percent (40%) say the government should provide funding for solar and wind power companies if investors will not invest in them, while an identical 40% oppose such government funding. Nineteen percent (19%) are undecided.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it’s in the news, it’s in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on September 24-25, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Just 39% of voters say they have followed recent news reports about Solyndra, with 19% who are following Very Closely.

Voters consistently express more confidence in the private sector than in government to solve the nation’s energy problems.  Most recently, in June, 72% of Americans said the United States is not doing enough to develop alternative sources of energy, but 65% felt private companies were more likely to solve the nation’s energy problems than a government research program.

Seventy-nine percent (79%) of Republicans and 59% of voters not affiliated with either of the major parties think free market competition is more likely than government subsidies and regulations to help the United States develop alternative sources of energy. Just 34% of Democrats agree. A plurality (41%) of voters in the president’s party have more confidence in government subsidies and regulations.

Fifty-five percent (55%) of Democrats and a plurality (44%) of unaffiliated voters believe the government should provide funding to companies that want to develop solar or wind power even if private investors will not invest in them. Sixty-three percent (63%) of GOP voters oppose such funding.

Given a case like Solyndra, though, 57% of unaffiliateds agree with 78% of Republicans that the government should not provide loans or loan guarantees to help keep the company in business if private investors refuse to get involved. Democrats agree by a much narrower 43% to 26% margin.

Nearly half (49%) of Political Class voters think the government should help an alternative energy company in a situation like Solyndra’s.  Seventy percent (70%) of Mainstream voters disagree. But 53% of those in the Mainstream believe that when business owners support a winning politician, they get special treatment when applying for loan guarantees. Fifty-four percent (54%) of the Political Class think that’s not true.

The loan guarantees for Solyndra which are now unlikely to ever be repaid came from the $787-billion stimulus plan approved in early 2009 by the Congress, and voters have remained lukewarm on that package ever since the president first proposed it.

Most voters continue to believe strongly as they have for years that government and big business work together against the interests of consumers and investors.

Voters remain strongly supportive of a free market economy over one controlled by the government and still think small businesses are hurt more than big businesses when the government does get involved.

Crony Capitalism – Again? General Pressured to Back Pet Project

General Reported He Was Pressured on Testimony About White House-Backed Project, Sources Say

By Justin Fishel, Fox News

Gen. William Shelton, head of the Air Force Space Command, told House members in a classified briefing earlier this month that he was pressured to change prepared congressional testimony in a way that would favor a large company funded by Philip Falcone, a major Democratic donor, congressional sources told Fox News.

Gen. William Shelton
Gen. William Shelton

Republicans have raised questions about whether project pursued by the company, LightSquared, is being unduly expedited by the Obama administration, which has pushed for national wireless network upgrades.

The Virginia-based satellite and broadband communications company has plans to build a nationwide, next-generation, 4G phone network that many, including Shelton, think would seriously hinder the effectiveness of high-precision GPS receiver systems, a product used most commonly by the United States military.

A source familiar with the technology told Fox News that the LightSquared spectrum would be 5 billion times stronger than the military’s GPS system, rendering the military’s system almost useless.

“Imagine trying to have a telephone conversation while your neighbors are hosting a rock concert,” the source told Fox News. “That’s the situation the military is facing.”

Shelton, in testimony Thursday before a House Armed Services subcommittee, refused to suggest that interference problems could be mitigated, as he allegedly was being pressured to say.

Military training that relies on precision GPS, such as dropping ordnance, potentially could cease to exist in the United States. Many farmers who also rely on the systems would also be affected. It’s estimated this system is used by as many as 1 million people.

Air Force Space Command

A House Armed Services Committee staff member confirmed to Fox News that when asked whether he was pressured to change public testimony he had prepared to for the hearing Thursday, Gen. Shelton said he was “being asked to say things he didn’t agree with.”

It’s unclear who exactly pressured Shelton, but it’s possible the culprits are in White House, Department of Defense or the Office of Management and Budget, which each approve military testimony prepared for Congress. The House staff member also told Fox News a copy of Shelton’s prepared testimony was leaked to LightSquared.

The Pentagon did not respond to Fox News’ requests Thursday evening to comment for this story, though a spokeswoman for Shelton told the Washington Post that there was no improper influence on the general’s testimony. The Post also reported that the White House denied trying to influence Shelton’s testimony.

The company also defended its work.

“We understand that some in the telecom sector fear the challenges for their business model that LightSquared presents. It’s also ludicrous to suggest LightSquared’s success depends on political connections. This is a private company that has never taken one dollar in taxpayer money,” chief executive Sanjiv Ahuja said in a statement quoted by the Post.

At the House subcommittee hearing Thursday, which focused on strategic forces and sustaining GPS for national security, Republican Chairman Michael Turner lashed out at the Obama administration for its acceptance of LightSquared proposals. He took aim at FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, a longtime basketball buddy of President Obama, for not showing up at the hearing and for granting a waiver to LightSquared on Jan. 26.

“I trust Chairman Genachowski is doing something very important this morning if he couldn’t be here to discuss the significant harm to national security that may result from the FCC’s action,” Turner said.