The Koch Brothers Like Government Handouts

Joe Nocera finds that the Koch brothers have no problem accepting government handouts despite their longstanding opposition to “corporate welfare.”

Nocera points to a 2013 investment by Koch Minerals in a Big River Steel project that benefited from “an $800 million 10-year loan from a German bank, KfW IPEX-Bank. That loan, in turn, was contingent on credit insurance provided by Euler Hermes, a credit agency like the Export-Import Bank of the United States.”

“In doing so, of course, the Kochs were taking advantage of the same ‘corporate welfare’ they had long condemned — while relying on the kind of government credit agency they are trying to dismantle in America.”

“Koch-funded groups have led the battle to defund the Ex-Im Bank, which Congress declined to reauthorize this summer, in part because of pressure applied by those groups.”

But “the Big River Steel project offers a clear illustration of why those who want to put the Export-Import Bank out of business are dead wrong.”

“‘Because of the size of the loan and the 10-year repayment period, private insurers would not have wanted to pick it up … And banks wouldn’t have touched it with a 10-foot pole … ‘This is exactly what export credit agencies are good at:’ … stepping in to complete deals that make business sense but need the backing of a sovereign to complete.”

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