May 13, 2002
A Senate Finance Committee revealed the many loans from the government’s Export-Import Bank to Enron. The purpose of Ex-Im – supposedly – is to help U.S. corporations compete against foreign corporations that get subsidies from their governments. So Ex-Im gives the U.S. corporations loans and the taxpayers pay the price if the corporations default on their loans. No doubt the foreign governments justify the subsidies to their companies on the grounds that the U.S. subsidizes corporations here – but that’s how the corporate give-away game is played.
Ex-Im’s loans to Enron began under the Clinton administration and continue under the Bush administration – even still today. During the whole period there was a top Enron executive on the Advisory Committee of the Ex-Im. The Bank loaned 650 million dollars to Dabhol Power Co. in India, which was 80% owned by Enron. Today 175 million dollars remains unpaid on the loan, and Dabhol is bankrupt. In other words, Enron got a handout-out of 175 million. Ex-Im loaned 135 million dollars to the Accroven partnership, a natural gas plant in Venezuela, of which Enron owned nearly half. Only four million dollars has been repaid, so add another 131 million dollars that went down the Enron sinkhole. Etcetera.
Enron certainly isn’t the only one to have scarfed up millions and billions of dollars in government subsidies – under the guise of “foreign competition.”
It’s simply the one we’ve heard about because of the scandal.