Veronique de Rugy on “Bipartisan Corporate Welfare”

On June 7, the Senate Banking Committee voted to back Fred Hochberg’s second term as president of the U.S. Export-Import Bank without bothering to ask the Obama administration about the future of that expensive, inefficient New Deal–era agency. The vote, in which 28 Republicans joined 54 Democrats in supporting Hochberg, was not a good sign for anyone hoping that the GOP’s latest promises of fiscal restraint would prove more trustworthy than all the broken promises before.

The bank, also known as “Ex-Im,” provides taxpayer-backed loans, loan guarantees, and insurance to foreign companies, such as Air China, to buy products from some of the richest U.S. exporters, such as Boeing. It is a textbook example of Washington’s bipartisan corporate welfare. Yet only two Republicans, Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), voted against Hochberg. In an online statement Toomey explained his reasons for withholding support. “I opposed his nomination due to serious concerns that the Ex-Im Bank is using taxpayer-backed loan guarantees to help some companies at the expense of other U.S. companies,” he said. “The way to help U.S. exports is to reduce the tax and regulatory burden on businesses, not to pick winners and losers.”
Full column by Veronique de Rugy @ Reason

Gene Healy:”Counting the Costs of Obama’s Libya and Syria Blunders”

There’s an unhealthy dose of ’80s nostalgia in the media reaction to the emerging Vladimir Putin-brokered settlement of the Syrian chemical weapons attack crisis.

The punditocracy seems transfixed on Cold-War era concerns like, “Have the Russians made our president look weak?” But there’s a more important takeaway from last week’s events.

The “Obama Doctrine” — or at least that part of the president’s muddled foreign policy philosophy that favors humanitarian “wars of choice” — is finished. “Tomahawk humanitarianism” has had its day. The Libyan precedent won’t be repeated — and it’s a good thing, too

New York Times columnist and armed international niceness advocate Nick Kristof called the 2011 air war in Libya one of “President Obama’s finest moments in foreign policy.” It was anything but.

Put aside the fact that the war was illegal by Obama’s own terms, expressed on the campaign trail in 2007, since it “unilaterally authorize[d] a military attack in a situation that [did] not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”

Our allegedly limited “kinetic military action” in Libya — which lasted some seven months — was also a disaster in humanitarian terms.

As political scientist Alan J. Kuperman recently explained, NATO intervention “increased the duration of Libya’s civil war by about six times and its death toll by at least seven times, while also exacerbating human rights abuses, humanitarian suffering, Islamic radicalism, and weapons proliferation in Libya and its neighbors.”

Full column by Gene Healy @

Libertarian Party opposes U.S. intervention in Syria

Dated August 29, 2013
Libertarian Party Chair Geoffrey J. Neale today strongly opposed any U.S. military intervention in the civil war in Syria.

“There is no Constitutional justification for America to unilaterally use force in Syria,” Neale said.

“Syria is not threatening our country,” he added. “We have no national interest in intervening there. There are no reasons for the U.S. to support either the Assad dictatorship or the opposition warlords.”

Neale reaffirmed the party’s longstanding foreign policy of nonintervention, quoting part of the National Defense plank of the party platform: “The United States should both avoid entangling alliances and abandon its attempts to act as policeman for the world.”

He also quoted from the International Affairs plank, which says, “American foreign policy should seek an America at peace with the world. Our foreign policy should emphasize defense against attack from abroad and enhance the likelihood of peace by avoiding foreign entanglements. We would end the current U.S. government policy of foreign intervention, including military and economic aid.”