Plain Dealer Ed Board Slams Kasich For Siding With The Kochs Over Ohio On Ex-Im

September 23, 2015

“Befuddling.” That’s how the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s editorial board characterized John Kasich siding with the Koch-driven opposition to the Export-Import Bank.

The Kochs have made opposing the Ex-Im Bank a key factor in gaining their support because killing the bank boosts the billionaire Kochs’ bottom line, as revealed in a recent Bridge Project Report, “Banking on Obstruction: Koch Profits Behind Opposition to Ex-Im Bank.” While Koch-owned companies have received a modest $16.2 million from the Export-Import Bank, Koch competitors have received massive benefits to the tune of $19.4 billion

As the Plain Dealer notes, GE supports thousands of jobs in Ohio and the company’s move to Ohio could have brought more jobs to the state, but instead of doing what’s best for the Buckeye state, Kasich put the interests of the billionaire Koch brothers first.

Cleveland Plain Dealer (editorial): Gov. John Kasich’s stance on Ex-Im Bank hurts Ohio

A recent Wall Street Journal report suggested General Electric Co. had written off Ohio as a potential new site for its corporate headquarters because some of the state’s key politicians don’t support the U.S. Export-Import Bank.

Although not named, the detractors in question are believed to be Gov. John Kasich, who is seeking the Republican nomination for president, and U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, from Urbana. 

The Export-Import Bank is hardly the poster child for corporate welfare. It levels the playing field in international exports for U.S. companies big and small, has a very low default rate and — by government accounting standards — is self-sustaining. That means its costs and loans are supported by fees and interest, not by U.S. taxpayers.

The goal of the bank is sound: to assume credit risk when commercial banks are reluctant to do so, such as when the projects in need of funding are in troubled parts of the world.

The bank helps offset the subsidies that competitors of U.S. companies are receiving from their governments.

Many establishment Republicans are not with Kasich on this one, including House Speaker John Boehner and U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, both of Ohio. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce also supports the bank and believes letting it die will put tens of thousands of jobs at risk.

And yet many congressional Republicans eager to earn their anti-government stripes are trying to kill it. “This is not free enterprise,” argues Jordan, but crony capitalism.

Why Kasich joined that camp is befuddling. If he views the Ex-Im Bank as corporate welfare, then what does he call the millions of dollars in financial incentives doled out to attract or retain jobs by his signature development effort, the quasi-public JobsOhio, which operates on state liquor money?

It may be possible that Ohio was never on GE’s short list as its new corporate headquarters, but Kasich must know that the company employs more than 15,000 people in Ohio, including in its aviation division near Cincinnati and a lighting division in East Cleveland.

Kasich also must know that the Ex-Im Bank is a jobs producer.

The corollary is that sinking it will cost U.S. jobs.

Ohio’s governor should take another look at his position on the bank and then encourage Boehner to push for its reauthorization by the House.

Paid for by American Bridge 21st Century Foundation