A Profit Opportunity?

by Don Boudreaux on March 26, 2012

in Crony Capitalism, Other People's Money, Subsidies, Trade

Here’s a letter of mine that appears in today’s Washington Post:

Export-Import Bank Chairman and President Fred P. Hochberg insists that the government agency he heads is no dispenser of corporate welfare because “over the past five years, the bank has generated $1.9 billion in surpluses for U.S. taxpayers” [letters, March 23].

If these profits are genuine (rather than accounting illusions that have been conjured by creative government cost shifting), then Mr. Hochberg need not worry that Uncle Sam’s reluctance to fund the bank will put an end to it and its allegedly worthwhile work. An entity so profitable will be eagerly acquired and operated by private investors.

In fact, why doesn’t Mr. Hochberg himself — rather than grumble about Congress’s hesitance to reauthorize the bank — organize a group of investors to take the Ex-Im Bank private? Should he do so, taxpayers will be spared the expense; Mr. Hochberg and his investment partners will earn big bucks; and the U.S. economy will continue to reap the impressive benefits that Mr. Hochberg so ardently proclaims are the product of the bank’s operations.

It’d be a win-win!

Donald J. Boudreaux, Burke

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