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As the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im) approaches the expiration of its charter, conservatives have yet to come to an agreement about what the future of the credit agency should look like. On Thursday night, Tony Fratto of Hamilton Place Strategies and Tim Carney of AEI sat down with POLITICO'S Ben White to debate the merits of Ex-Im and discuss its reauthorization.
Fratto argued that Ex-Im plays a vital role in keeping the United States competitive in complex global markets that require customers to have official export credit assistance. He used the aircraft manufacturing rivalry between Airbus and Boeing to illustrate the need for an official credit supplier that allows US companies to stay competitive with heavily supported international firms. Fratto emphasized that the alternative to keeping Ex-Im is for the United States to remove itself from emerging markets.
Carney challenged Fratto by arguing that the while the Ex-Im Bank effectively sustains certain sectors of the economy, it does so at the expense of others that are put at a competitive disadvantage by the bank's involvement in the market. He explained that the bank's subsidies do not actually create jobs but rather redistribute them through artificial incentives and barriers. Carney concluded his argument by noting that Ex-Im opens avenues for cronyism and corruption by giving the government the dangerous ability to choose economic winners and losers.
The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) supports US exporters with taxpayer-backed loans and provides loan guarantees to foreign buyers. With the credit agency’s charter set to expire in fall 2014, many Republicans want to let it die, while others are determined to save it. Critics see it as a breeding ground for crony capitalism and corporate welfare, but advocates for American industry consider it a crucial job creator that levels the global playing field. It has become a proxy war in the battle for the soul of the Republican Party.
We welcome you to join us at AEI as POLITICO’s Ben White moderates a lively debate between Tim Carney, one of the bank’s fiercest critics, and Tony Fratto, one of the agency’s staunchest defenders.
If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.
Timothy P. Carney, AEI
Tony Fratto, Hamilton Place Strategies
Ben White, POLITICO
Adjournment and Reception
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Timothy P. Carney is a visiting fellow at AEI, where he helps direct the Culture of Competition Project, examining barriers to competition in all areas of American life, from the economy to the world of ideas. Carney has more than a decade of experience as a journalist covering the intersection of politics and economics. His work at AEI focuses on how to reinvigorate a competitive culture in America in which all can reap the benefits of a fair economy. Carney is the author of two books: “The Big Ripoff: How Big Business and Big Government Steal Your Money” (John Wiley & Sons, 2006) and “Obamanomics: How Barack Obama Is Bankrupting You and Enriching His Wall Street Friends, Corporate Lobbyists, and Union Bosses” (Regnery Publishing, 2009).
Tony Fratto is a partner at Hamilton Place Strategies, a policy and communications consulting firm based in Washington, DC. Fratto held several senior legislative and communications positions before serving as the US Department of the Treasury’s chief spokesman on topics related to domestic finance, debt management, banking, international economics, and international development. In 2006, Fratto joined the George W. Bush administration as deputy assistant to the president and principal deputy press secretary, where he was the White House’s lead communicator on all international and domestic economic policy issues. In addition to his current role at Hamilton Place Strategies, Fratto is an on-air contributor with the CNBC Business News Network and a member of the Center for Global Development’s Partners Council.
Ben White is POLITICO's chief economic correspondent and author of the “Morning Money” column covering the nexus of finance and public policy. Before joining POLITICO in fall 2009, White served as a Wall Street reporter for The New York Times, where he shared a Society of Business Editors and Writers award for breaking news coverage of the financial crisis. From 2005 to 2007, White was Wall Street correspondent and US banking editor at the Financial Times. White worked at The Washington Post for nine years before joining the Financial Times. He served as national political researcher and research assistant to columnist David S. Broder and later as Wall Street correspondent.