The $1 per gallon tax credit for biodiesel producers just passed the U.S. House and appears likely to become law. The credit, which expired at the end of 2017, will be extended retroactively 2 years and forward for 3 years through 2022. This tax credit started in 2005. How long must the welfare continue? Biodiesel producers are no different than most other businesses and industries in that they become dependent on subsidies and lobby heavily to prevent the subsidy from ever ending. We need to pass laws that phase out all forms of energy subsidies, as well as subsidies given to other favored industries. We need free-market capitalism, not crony capitalism.
I urge our elected federal representatives to oppose the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank. (The Ex-Im Bank provides taxpayer guarantees to U.S. companies that export and sell products to international customers. Authorization is set to expire on 9/30.) This has been and continues to be a quintessential example of crony capitalism. If a U.S. exporter has customers who find it difficult to find financing, the seller can always guarantee a loan and get a security position to get the asset back in a worst case. If they still cannot get financing, the seller could provide direct financing. In any case, our government should not guarantee such loan private companies.
I’m sure that small and large Iowa export companies are heavily lobbying for reauthorize the Bank. I hope our representatives resist the pressure and vote against this bad policy where taxpayers are asked to take the risk and private companies reap the profits.
The essay in The Register on 9/15/2014, by Mary Andringa and Jay Timmons in support of reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank) was well done. The fact that the Ex-Im Bank returned $1 billion in profits to the U.S. Treasury is very persuasive. Of course the same thing could be said about the U.S. government getting into about any business. If our government ran a grocery store or a tractor manufacturing plant, it is very likely that it could make a profit. But we don’t (or shouldn’t) do things that way in the United States.
In this case, there is good reason to believe that privately owned banks could provide this kind of financing for our manufacturers who want to export their products to other parts of the world. The manufacturers should be willing to guarantee the debt of their customers if that is what is needed to secure financing for their buyers. The fact that Ex-Im Bank financing, “is available to any exporter of any size” does not mean that this isn’t an example of crony capitalism. In this case, the crony capitalists just happen to be a very large group of manufacturers who want the government to guarantee loans for their foreign customers.
We have created a crutch for these businesses. We need to take away that crutch and move towards free market capitalism.
Link to Register article: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/columnists/iowa-view/2014/09/15/iowa-view-export-import-bank-economic-engine/15650761/
Congress has no proper business getting involved in regulating credit card swipe fees. Contrary to the editorial in the Des Moines Register by Bill Leichsenring, the market is not broken (“Congress must rein in credit card swipe fees” 11/27/2012″ – see link below). There is a great deal of competition to process merchant credit card transactions. I am a retail business owner who pays thousands of dollars in credit card swipe fees each year. We receive solicitations all the time from companies that would like to process our credit card transactions and try to lower our fees. Fees do vary widely, but they are not as low as Mr. Leichsenring reports they are in Europe. If our government is doing anything to prevent European banks from competing in the U.S., or to prevent competition in the credit card market, those things should be stopped. Otherwise, we should not be asking government to step in and use its force to lower prices that we think are too high. No business is required to accept credit cards. They do it voluntarily because they think it will improve their profits. If businesses don’t want to pay the credit card fees, they don’t have to accept them. They could accept only cash or checks. They could offer their own direct charge accounts. They could even look into offering newer alternatives like Paypal or Dwolla. When it comes to free market capitalism, most businesses want it for everyone else. In their own businesses, they want crony capitalism or mercantilism – where government protects them against competition, bails them out when they lose money, but lets them keep the profits.
Link to Register article: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20121127/OPINION01/311270075/Iowa-View-Congress-must-rein-in-credit-card-swipe-fees?Opinion&nclick_check=1