When I worked in Campaign for Liberty Chairman Ron Paul's congressional office, we worked in "transpartisan"coalitions with libertarians, conservatives, and progressives against corporate welfare. The progressive members of the coalition disagreed with the libertarians and conservatives that the money spent on corporate welfare should be returned to the US taxpayer--instead they wanted to spend it on "social programs"-- but they did understand the fundamental immorality of taxing working Americans and small businesses to subsidize politically-connected big businesses. Oftentimes, the left would join us in fighting corporate welfare programs because theses program promoted environmental destruction or "unfair" labor practices in foreign countries.
Sadly, just as in foreign policy and civil liberties, most of the left has abandoned the fight against corporate welfare in the Obama years, starting with Obama himself. Candidate Obama once called the Export-Import bank (Eximbank) "...a fund for corporate welfare," whereas President Obama supports Eximbank.
Most of the Democrats have followed President Obama's lead. Hence, the only "progressive" Senator to oppose reauthorization of Eximbank was Bernie Sanders, who is an independent, not a Democrat.
Another progressive who has not abandoned his opposition to corporate welfare just because there is a Democrat in the White House is former Congressman (and Ron Paul Institute Board member) Dennis Kucinich. Representative Kucinich recently teamed up with conservative Representative (and his fellow Ohioan) Jim Jordan, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, for an anti-Eximbank op-ed for USA Today:
"I'm not a Democrat who believes that we can or should defend every government program, just because it's there. Like … the Export-Import Bank that's become little more than a fund for corporate welfare." These are the words of Barack Obama during his 2008 presidential campaign.
As a liberal former congressman and candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, and a Republican congressman who chairs the House Freedom Caucus, we agree with then-candidate Obama that the Ex-Im Bank is little more than a fund for corporate welfare. And we are united in the belief that taxpayers should not be forced to support welfare for some of the world's largest companies.
While it began as a New Deal-era program with good intentions, the Ex-Im Bank has become a slush fund for a handful of well-connected megacorporations. Efforts to reform the bank, including one by Kucinich in 2002, have ended in disappointment.
The bank has also failed to comply with reforms that are on the books. Additionally, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee investigations have uncovered that the bank is rampant with potential fraud and abuse. The bank's inspector general is investigating 31 cases, with one indictment and more possible.
Today, Ex-Im funds support only 2% of U.S. exports. The vast majority of exporters find their funding elsewhere.
Read the rest here.
Campaign for Liberty Chairman Ron Paul discusses his work across party and ideological lines against the warfare state in his new book Swords into Plowshares. If you have not yet bought a copy get one today!
Tags: corporate welfare, Exixbnak, Dennis Kucnich