A. Barton Hinkle on Crony Capitalism and the Export-Import Bank

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Credit: Wikimedia Commons

If you want a pluperfect example to epitomize the stupidity of America's team-sports approach to politics, look no further than the Export-Import Bank. Once upon a time, liberals condemned Ex-Im. It was "little more than a fund for corporate welfare," candidate Barack Obama said in 2008. Left-wingers routinely deplored the way the bank did big favors for big businesses such as Boeing and Enron, at the expense of the little guy both at home and abroad. But lately, writes A. Barton Hinkle, the bank—it's actually a government agency—has come under fire from tea party populists, too. They oppose it for many of the reasons liberals did, plus one more: its distortion of the free market. Government, they say, should not be picking winners and losers.

Lo and behold, suddenly Ex-Im is becoming a cause célèbre on the left, with so-called progressives like Elizabeth Warren rushing to its defense. Apparently, Hinkle writes, some folks would rather think the other side is wrong than be right themselves.

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