On April 14, 2017, former conservative Rep. Scott Garrett of New Jersey was announced as President Trump’s pick to head up the Export Import Bank. Garrett would be an excellent President of Ex-Im, yet the K Street lobbyists residing in the Washington D.C. swamp are pulling out all the stops to block President Trump’s pick.
The President’s announcement included a short bio of his accomplishments: “Mr. Garrett served in the United States House of Representatives from 2003 to 2015. Prior to serving in the House, Mr. Garrett was a New Jersey State Representative from 1992 to 2003.” One of the most important reasons why he should be appointed is the fact that, as a Congressman, he was a critic of the Export Import Bank. That should be lauded and not criticized, however the fact that Garrett has been critical is one and only reason why he is being opposed. Lobbyists for crony capitalist companies want unlimited use of taxpayer money to subsidize exports of U.S. goods to foreign purchasers.
Being a critic of an institution is clearly not a disqualifier for confirmation in the Trump Administration or former Texas Governor Rick Perry would have never been confirmed as Secretary of the Department of Energy. When running for president in 2012, Perry called for the elimination of the Department of Energy. That was not considered a non-starter for his confirmation and Garrett should be granted the same courtesy. Most conservatives should support skeptics of big government to be appointed to run every agency to insure that government does not continue to grow in power and size.
Politico reports that the lobbyist class in Washington wants Garrett’s nomination withdrawn and they are pushing the narrative that “President Donald Trump is reconsidering his nomination of former Rep. Scott Garrett to lead the Export-Import Bank and may drop him amid growing resistance from industry.” The sources are unnamed “West Wing aides and Trump advisers.” Yet again, anonymous sources being used to attack a good man. This is a syndrome that is all too common in the D.C. swamp.
The Export Import Bank uses your tax dollars to guarantee loans for foreign purchasers of U.S. exports. No doubt that many U.S. companies benefit from the bank, yet it is a legitimate criticism of the institution that using U.S. taxpayer money to insure that foreign buyers purchase U.S. goods is inconsistent with the concept of free market capitalism. Government playing favorites and subsidizing certain corporations causes market distortions and favoritism for the biggest companies who hire the best lobbyists. Hopefully Garrett can address these concerns and reform the Export Import Bank.
One of Garrett’s most prominent critics is National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons who wrote a blistering piece in the Wall Street Journal. Timmons wrote in the WSJ on July 11, 2017 that “those like Mr. Garrett who have stood in the path of a fully functioning Ex-Im Bank are responsible for moving our jobs, our wealth and our factories to other countries.” The fact of the matter is the opposite. When government intervenes in the market to play favorites, the government destroys market forces and creeps toward a form of socialism where corporations are rewarded by consumers when successful and protected by taxpayers when not successful.
Some critics have accused the Export Import bank to become a piggy bank for the largest U.S. exporters. As Veronique de Rugy wrote in National Review on July 13, 2017, “during the heyday of the Ex-Im Bank, ten massive domestic companies benefited from 65 percent of the agency’s activities, which subsidized loans to equally massive and often state-owned foreign companies.” The so called “bank” was engaged in crony capitalism – loaning your tax dollars to foreign government-controlled foreign companies and subsidizing loans for the ten companies that had the best and most well paid lobbyists in the swamp. Smaller exporters were not provided the same opportunities.
Timmons is doing the bidding of crony capitalists and he should not be successful in his effort to pay lobbyists to kill the nomination of a man, Scott Garrett, who can bring much needed reform to the Export Import Bank. De Rugy and I agree that “it is unfortunate that so many Republicans, conservatives lawmakers, and pundits conflate being pro-market with being pro-business.” Garrett understands the difference and is the perfect man to keep the Export Import Bank in check.