Allen: Reagan’s Ex-Im Bank reforms still paying dividends

President Reagan was one of our country’s greatest leaders because he valued fair opportunities for the American people over political manipulations that waste taxpayer money.

The “Great Communicator” listened and connected with Americans and then acted in the best interest of our nation. This is why Reagan and presidents from both parties have shown strong support for the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank. The Ex-Im Bank’s charter has been reauthorized every term since its inception in 1934.

However, I won’t claim that the Ex-Im Bank has always been a flawless federal agency. In fact, Reagan was a scrutinizing supporter. From the start, he called for major reforms and instilled discipline and budget transparency. Limits were imposed upon the Ex-Im Bank, and subsidies were significantly cut. Those changes have helped to make the Ex-Im Bank self-sustaining today. The Ex-Im Bank not only does not receive or need taxpayer subsidies, but it also turned a $1 billion profit in 2013.

Working with Congress, Reagan fought for structural changes that eventually made the Ex-Im Bank a stronger and more fiscally sound institution. Years later, he reaffirmed his support for its mission to help American workers and families, small businesses and manufacturers and taxpayers, while growing and strengthening the U.S. economy.

On the Ex-Im Bank’s 50th anniversary in 1984, Reagan signed a letter praising the agency for its accomplishments, declaring the United States the greatest trading nation in the world owing to a combination of talented Americans and a free-enterprise economy. However, he also noted, “We must all work together to encourage a greater competitive spirit on the part of American companies as we seek to meet the challenges of exporting today and in the years ahead.”

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