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LETTERS: Taxpayer-backed Ex-Im Bank pads profits for large corporations

Mehul R. Mehta, plant manager of the GE Engine Service facility in North Las Vegas, believes the U.S. Export-Import Bank is vital to GE and other companies and that without it, they would not be able to compete with foreign companies. He points out that 60 other countries have similar taxpayer-subsidized banks (“Nevada’s congressional delegation must support Ex-Im Bank,” July 30 Review-Journal).

That concept is pure nonsense. First of all, Mr. Mehta cites as an example that last year Ex-Im loaned GE $720 million to finance locomotive orders from GE factories to railroads in foreign countries, and that it helped the 70 employees at his plant. In the 2014 fourth quarter, GE had $42 billion in revenues and $5.1 billion in net profit. It seems to me that GE should have financed the $720 million out of its own pockets and not had to rely on a taxpayer-funded bank, which leads one to ask why they do it.

Simply put, Ex-Im gives out taxpayer-backed loans that are guaranteed at below-market rates. In other words, companies make bigger profits by getting taxpayer loans. According to a George Mason University report, 76 percent of the taxpayer-funded loans through the Ex-Im bank go to 10 large, publicly traded U.S. companies. GE in fiscal year 2014 received $2.6 billion in loan assistance, ranking behind only Boeing, which got the lion’s share of $8.3 billion. All other companies, which include truly small companies, received 24 percent of the loans.

For Mr. Mehta to say that these loan guarantees level the playing field when these companies compete with foreign companies is a total joke and distorts the true reason why these companies love taxpayer-backed loans. First they finance the loans at a lower-than-market rate, and if their project fails, the American taxpayer is on the hook. Additionally, the cheap loans boost their profits to the shareholders, and not a dime goes to the taxpayer.

The Ex-Im Bank is nothing more than crony corporate welfare for large, publicly traded companies. These large companies are profitable enough to get financing on the open market and should not have to rely on taxpayer money. I would be all for the Ex-Im bank if the loans went to truly small companies competing in the world market, but it was never set up for that.

Michael O. Kreps

Las Vegas

Rousey hype

I love UFC superstar Ronda Rousey, but it’s time to stop the hyperbole. She won’t fight Cris “Cyborg” Justino at 145 pounds, but a lot of people think she could beat Floyd Mayweather Jr., a man who also weighs 145 pounds. That fight would last 28 seconds, with Mayweather being untouched.

Remember when Annika Sorenstam played golf against the men? She didn’t make the cut. So please stop.

Another thing: If Ms. Rousey continues to knock out opponents in the first round, the pay per view won’t go down much. Do people not watch Tiger Woods or Serena Williams? I know watching them didn’t cost $60, so get two more people and spend $20 each.

Kipp Altemara

Las Vegas

Mob museum

For a long time I wondered what could be so great about downtown’s Mob Museum. Well, last week I found out when company came to town and I took them there. It was so much more than I expected.

Three floors of impressive video displays and movies, narrations from mob guys and FBI agents, some who went undercover and lived to tell about it. Lots of thrills, chills and even a chance to shoot a Tommy Gun and shoot at bad guys with a revolver at a giant interactive video screen. I learned so much in a fun way. This place is a Las Vegas treasure. I give it five stars.

Jerry Gordon


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