Export Import Bank 2019

ex-imThe Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) is 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.

The Export-Import Bank has come back to life with the support of President Trump and Senate Republicans.

The Senate on Wednesday agreed to replenish the board of the hobbled Export-Import Bank with three Trump appointees, after Republican opponents spent years blocking nominees to lead the trade-finance agency. The bank, which has provided billions of dollars in loan guarantees to foreign buyers of U.S. exports, will now be able to return to full operation for the first time since 2015, when its board lost a quorum necessary to approve transactions larger than $10 million.–Z. Warmbrodt, Politico, 05/08/2019

The Export-Import Bank was in the news in 2014 and 2015; this blog had at least five articles about it. In February, 2014, I wrote this:

The bank has been reauthorized dozens of times since 1934, so one wonders why conservatives, libertarians, and wackos would make a fuss this year. I believe they see it as a wedge issue within the GOP. By claiming that the bank is  an improper role for government, possibly inconsistent with the Tenth Amendment, they seek to inflame their base against RINOs.  Judging from the many messages of approval on Rep. Amash’s facebook page, it seems to be working.

In July, 2014, Ray Copson wrote:

House Republicans like to portray themselves as business friendly, but they are currently preventing the re-authorization of the Export-Import Bank, which will  cease to exist on September 30 unless action is taken. Opposition to the bank is motivated partly by ideology.  According to a Dallas Morning News website, Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling sees the Bank as “the face of ‘crony capitalism’ and proof that Washington has been captured by elites.” Hensarling chairs the House Financial Services Committee, which has jurisdiction over the bank.

Now it is in the news again. In a recent column, G. Will who opposes the reauthorization wrote:

Briefly suspending their warnings about the rising tide of socialism, a large majority of Senate Republicans recently joined with almost all their Democratic colleagues in affirming the essence of socialism, which is government allocation of capital. The Senate’s revival of the Export-Import Bank is a redundant reminder that the rhetorical discord between the parties exaggerates their actual differences.

President Trump supports the bank, the Senate supports it, but what about the House? Will left-leaning Democrats and Freedom Caucus Republicans unite in opposition?








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Reed’s writing

platitudesThe “Green New Deal’s” massive expansion of federal bureaucracy, technologically implausible guideposts and a tax to kill the American dream is not the answer to the undeniable threats our world is facing from climate change.–Rep. Tom Reed

A catch phrase is a phrase or expression recognized by its repeated utterance. Tom’s article in The Hill is an incoherent jumble of catch phrases; it is impossible to tell what he proposes. 

Catch phrases:

  1. empower change
  2. incentivizing entrepreneurs
  3. Innovation is not our enemy.
  4. upend the status quo of federal incentives for existing technologies.
  5. picking winners and losers
  6. market-driven innovation
  7. uncompetitive over-reliance on federal tax credits. 
  8. ends unlimited, market-distorting extenders for tax incentives
  9. lining the pockets of established technologies
  10. propping up otherwise uneconomical technologies.
  11. the challenges of an evolving environment.
  12. all-of-the-above energy strategy,
  13. it’s not just about the here and now – it’s about our future.

I don’t believe any comment is needed.



Posted in Environmental, Reed's Views, Taxes | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Potentates watching

kim watches
No plan of operations reaches with any certainty beyond the first encounter with the enemy’s main force.–Helmuth van Moltke, 1880.

In his memoir, “Travels with Herodotus” Polish journalist, Ryszard Kapuściński tells the story of a Persian potentate, Xerxes, who seated himself on a throne to watch the naval battle of Salamis, which he expected his navy to win. This was a naval battle fought between Greeks and the Persians in 480 BC, which resulted in a decisive victory for the outnumbered Greeks. Xerxes would have had a scribe at his side to record which commanders and crews performed notably. As Xerxes watched, the Persians were defeated. He then packed up and went home.

Here we see Kim Jong-un watching a missile test. The similarity is evident. All is well if the test is successful; if not, Kim will go home and some will suffer for it.  Even if the test is successful, North Korean militarism may be prelude to disaster.


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John Stossel’s social darwinism


This country has nothing to fear from the crooked man who fails. We put him in jail. It is the crooked man who succeeds who is a threat to this country.–TR

John Stossel’s column “A lie, a myth and a question,” appeared in the Elmira Star-Gazette today, Saturday, May 4. Stossel makes a number of claims:

  • Thanks to capitalism, more than a billion people no longer struggle to survive on a few pennies a day.
  • Economists at Harvard and Berkeley crunched the numbers and found most people born to the richest fifth of Americans fell out of that bracket within 20 years.
  • Most of the billionaires (on the Forbes list) are self-made. They didn’t inherit money. They created wealth.

Other than unnamed economists, Stossel cites only one source–Carol Roth.

Carol Roth is the creator of the Future File™ legacy planning system, a “recovering” investment banker, business advisor, entrepreneur and best-selling author. She is also a reality TV show judge, media contributor and host of Microsoft’s Office Small Business Academy.

No experts on social stratification are cited.

Stossel would sell his readers Social Darwinism–the idea that the rich deserve their wealth and the poor deserve their poverty. He fails to justify his wild claims with respected sources. He promotes the libertarian idea that everyone would be better off in a libertarian world. His ideas are false, but it is easier to make wild, unsupported claims than to refute them.

Is Stossel’s claim that “3 out of 4 Americans” will be in the top income quintile at some point in their life believable? I think not.




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Two New Yorks

secessionI know in the past a lot of people have pooh-poohed it, but I think the time has come.–Sen. Joseph Robach, R-Greece, Monroe County, who has sponsored a secession referendum bill since 2009

“We’re all one family here, let’s keep it that way.”-former NYS Governor Mario Cuomo

Jon Campbell, in an article which appeared in the Elmira Star-Gazette, explores the question of secession. I was surprised to learn that one proponent of secession from metropolitan New York was Randy Kuhl, who once represented much of what is now NY-23.

“Due to the extreme diversity of New York State, it has become almost ungovernable,” reads a memo attached to Kuhl’s 1992 bill. 

Campbell writes:

For at least 24 of the past 28 years, New York lawmakers — most of them upstate Republicans — have introduced legislation that would either start the process of splitting New York into two separate states or gauge whether voters support it. In most cases, the proposals are aimed at splitting more-liberal New York City from the conservative enclaves that dominate much of the geography upstate. But each year, those proposals reliably die in committee without getting much serious consideration …

Sen. Joseph Robach, R-Greece, Monroe County, who has sponsored a secession referendum bill since 2009, says it is a worthwhile measure.

I have heard upstate politicians campaign on the issue of secession, telling voters that voting Republican is the only way to protect upstate interests from threatening city dwellers. This idea helps keep upstate mired in poverty while New York City prospers.

Proponents of secession claim that home rule would benefit upstate. In making that argument, they ignore the fact that the flow of money is from the metropolitan area to upstate rather than the reverse. Secession would make upstate even more poverty stricken than today.

Campbell explains that there has been support in New York City for secession, but I don’t believe there is much support for secession there today. Without that, secession will remain a political ploy for upstate Republicans. In any case, it wouldn’t be easy:

In order to split into two states, the U.S. Constitution says both the state Legislature and Congress have to approve.

Why Congress would want to give NYS two more Senators isn’t clear.

The only case of secession in US History is West Virginia, which happened in the throes of Civil War. It isn’t likely to happen again.



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H.R. 2213–will this bill become law?

bipartisanH.R. 2213–will this bill become law, should it?“

For more than two decades, the Work Opportunity Tax Credit has proven to be highly effective in ensuring individuals on public assistance can make the transition to private sector jobs. In fact, since the program’s enactment, thirteen million people have benefitted, in turn reducing federal and state government spending,” said Chairman Thompson (D-CA).

“I have long advocated for the WOTC program to continue, as it is a proven tool to move eligible individuals off of unemployment and into the workforce,” said Rep. Pascrell (D-NJ).

“With more jobs available than those seeking employment across the country, we need to bring people from the sidelines of the economy into the workforce,” said Rep. Rice (R-SC). “Making the Work Opportunity Tax Credit permanent will incentivize employers to hire and retain people who have been struggling to find long-term, meaningful employment opportunities.”

“The Work Opportunity Tax Credit has long provided veterans and individuals from disadvantaged groups support in their search for sustainable employment,” said Rep. Suozzi (D-NY).

“We care about rewarding work and ensuring everyone has a fair shot to provide for themselves and their families,” said Rep. Reed (R-NY). “Providing incentives for employers to hire people stuck on the sidelines who have trouble finding a job is essential for many folks in their pursuit of the American dream.”

What is the real purpose of this bill, to help workers or to help employers? Or is it campaign material for the sponsors?





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Should we punish a people if we don’t like their Government?

sanctionsShould we punish a people if we don’t like their Government?

How about these people?

  • Palestine–5 million
  • N. Korea–25 million
  • Cuba–11 million
  • Iran–81 million
  • Honduras–9 million
  • Nicaragua–6 million
  • Guatemala–17 million
  • Venezuela–32 million
  • Mexico–129 million

Sanctions, which punish the people rather than the rulers, seem cruel and are likely ineffective. How about China with 1.4 billion people; could punishing China be a good idea?

Are sanctions effective? On Iran from CRS report:

Effects on Iran’s Regional Influence

Neither the imposition, lifting, or reimposition of strict sanctions have appeared to affect Iran’s regional behavior. Iran intervened extensively in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen during the 2012-2016 period when sanctions had a significant adverse effect on Iran’s economy. Iran apparently is able to manufacture domestically the weaponry it suppliers to such entities, and sanctions do not appear to be an effective tool to limit such Iranian efforts. Iran has remained engaged in these regional conflicts since sanctions were eased in early 2016, and has apparently adjusted its level of activity in these conflicts to battlefield and local developments.

Human Rights-Related Effects

It is difficult to draw any direct relationship between sanctions and Iran’s human rights practices. Recent human rights reports by the State Department and the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Iran’s human rights practices generally assess that there has been some modest improvement in some of Iran’s practices in recent years, particularly relaxation of enforcement of the public dress code for women. But the altered policies cannot necessarily be attributed to sanctions relief.

Since at least 2012, foreign firms have generally refrained from selling the Iranian government equipment to monitor or censor social media use. Such firms include German telecommunications firm Siemens, Chinese internet infrastructure firm Huawei, and South African firm MTN Group. In October 2012, Eutelsat, a significant provider of satellite service to Iran’s state broadcasting establishment, ended that relationship after the EU sanctioned the then head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), Ezzatollah Zarghami. However, the regime retains the ability to monitor and censor social media use.

Humanitarian Effects

During 2012-2016, sanctions produced significant humanitarian-related effects, particularly in limiting the population’s ability to obtain expensive Western-made medicines, such as chemotherapy drugs. Some of the scarcity was caused by banks’ refusal to finance such sales, even though doing so was not subject to any sanctions. Some observers say the Iranian government exaggerated reports of medicine shortages to generate opposition to the sanctions.

Other accounts say that Iranians, particularly those with connections to the government, took advantage of medicine shortages by cornering the import market for key medicines. However, some of these shortages resurfaced in 2018 following the reimposition of sanctions by the Trump Administration. For example, reports in 2018 indicated that the reimposition of U.S. sanctions may be inhibiting the flow of humanitarian goods to the Iranian people and reportedly contributing to shortages in medicine to treat ailments such as multiple sclerosis and cancer.





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