If you listen to Fred Hochberg tell it- he is the white knight of American industry. Benevolently exporting our goods to the world. Helping the American worker. Savior of the universe.
Hochberg, if you recall, is the Chairman and president of the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank of the United States, a taxpayer-backed entity supposedly set up to promote American commerce. It has turned into a corporate slush fund for presidential administrations.
At a July 30th address to the Center for American Progress Hochberg sang the praises of American business and hit all the right notes for anyone not paying attention to the actions that have occurred under his tenure. “[W]e at Ex-Im Bank work every day to provide financing to support America’s exporters and their workers and keep them in the game,” said Hochberg after mulling the toils confronting private sector American businesses in the global market.
“Without us, many American companies would be missing opportunities to sell to the 95 percent of the world’s customers who live overseas,” Hochberg said.
That all sounds well and good, but the reality of Hochberg and the Export-Import Bank is nowhere near that when it comes to keeping American entrepreneurs “in the game.”
While Fred Hochberg, who The Hill recently dubbed, “a significant player in President Obama’s climate agenda,” (see Ex-Im: “solyndra”) would like for taxpayers to think of Ex-Im as a white knight they are anything but. In the words of Fmr. Senator Jim DeMint,“Ex-Im, as it is known, is a federal program that gives politically appointed executives power to lend mainly to foreign companies that buy American products and services.”
Less than two weeks before Hochberg’s aforementioned speech, Democratic Senators Klobuchar, Franken, Levin, and Stabenow penned a letter to Chairman Hochberg expressing deep concern over a potential Ex-Im deal and its impact on domestic iron ore production.
The deal in question? Over $600 million in financing to an Australian iron ore mine, which could have adverse effects for American industry and workers they claim.
“It doesn’t make sense for our government to be funding our competition,” said Klobuchar in the letter.
Hochberg’s Ex-Im exercise in cronyism backed with our tax dollars isn’t done. Ex-Im’s push to guarantee loans to foreign airlines to purchase Boeing airplanes has gobbled up huge, and growing portions of its budget (Pew-‘09:60%, Washington Examiner-‘12: 80%). Washington Examiner columnist Tim Carney reported, “In fiscal year 2012, Ex-Im issued $14.7 billion in loan guarantees. $12.2 billion of that money subsidized Boeing sales. That’s right: 82.7% of all of Ex-Im’s taxpayer-backed loan guarantees benefited one corporation.”
Hochberg’s platitudes aren’t enough to hide the hypocrisy of his tenure and the bank’s flat-out wrong waste of billions. If he really wants to “work every day” to keep America’s exporters “in the game,” then he’d reform the Bank. Something he clearly has no intention of doing.