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It was perhaps the most telling moment of the 7th Democratic Presidential Debate. Hillary Clinton desperately sought to deflect attention from her prior support of job-destroying "free-trade" agreements. She cited Bernie Sanders's opposition to the Export-Import Bank. She claimed that the bank has been used in recent years "to support exports, primarily from small businesses."

Export-Import Bank

Export-Import Debate Exposes Hillary as an Advocate of Corporate Welfare—Ernest Canning

It is the same argument, usually advanced by the principal lobbyist for big business, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, that Forbes's Steve Moore described as "fatuous."

In a remarkable slight-of-hand, Hillary, the Chamber and other proponents of corporate welfare hide behind a number of small businesses who benefit from the taxpayer-funded bank's subsidies. In reality, as noted by Sanders during the debate, "seventy-five percent of the funds going from...the Export-Import Bank goes to large profitable corporations. " Less than 20% of Export-Import Bank subsidies go to small businesses.

Setting aside the question as to whether part of the job duties of a U.S. Secretary of State include acting as a salesperson for some of the world's largest corporations, what Clinton neglected to mention is that both Boeing and General Electric funneled hefty donations to the Clinton Foundation.

Boeing is the world's second largest military contractor. In 2014, it recorded $90.78 billion in sales, yet paid only 3.3% in taxes. Yet, in 2013, this corporate giant raked-in more than $8 billion in Export-Import Bank assistance. Another $2.3 billion in taxpayer-funded Export-Import Bank subsidies wound up in the coffers of a conglomerate that sports a $253.5 billion net worth, General Electric. While serving as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lobbied with foreign governments on behalf of both of these tax-dodging corporations.

Clinton confirmed as much during the debate. "I did go in many places around the world to sell American products because the alternatives were usually European, Asian primarily Chinese products," she said.

Setting aside the question as to whether part of the job duties of a U.S. Secretary of State include acting as a salesperson for some of the world's largest corporations, what Clinton neglected to mention is that both Boeing and General Electric funneled hefty donations to the Clinton Foundation.

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Bernie Sanders responded to Clinton's defense of corporate welfare with a snarky remark:

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Isn’t it tragic that the large multinational corporations making billions of dollars a year, shutting down in America, going to China, going to Mexico? Absolutely they need a handout from the American middle class — I don’t think so.

In his Forbes piece, Moore underscored the absurd nature of the Export-Import Bank corporate welfare scheme:

To listen to firms like General Electric, Boeing and Caterpillar tell the story, you'd think all of America's exports would grind to a halt without it. That's absurd. In a world without an Export-Import Bank, which finances just 2 percent of U.S. exporters, private financing firms can supply the insurance and credit these companies need, but at market rates to reflect default risks.

Thus, Hillary Clinton's effort to attack Bernie Sanders on the Export-Import Bank only succeeded in exposing her to be a shameless advocate for corporate welfare.

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Ernest Canning
Veterans for Bernie