The following charts are an update to my previous chart, which showed the top 10 foreign buyers of exports financed by the US Export-Import Bank from FY 2007 to FY 2013. That chart noted that foreign oil and airline companies dominated the list. The first new chart shows the top foreign oil companies that have purchased Ex-Im–financed exports during that time, based on the total amount of financing authorized. The second new chart provides the same information for foreign airline companies.
Using a dataset that the US Export-Import Bank recently made available to the public, one can see which foreign companies are among the top purchasers of American exports financed by the bank’s subsidy programs. The following table shows the top 10 foreign buyers, based on the total amount of financing authorized from fiscal years 2007 through 2013.
The US Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) has been called “Boeing’s Bank” because of the overwhelming benefits that the aerospace conglomerate has received from the federal export credit agency over the years. This week’s charts, which were created using figures from Ex-Im’s 2014 annual report, show that Boeing remains the primary beneficiary of the bank’s taxpayer-backed financing.
This week’s chart is an updated comparison of the different measurements of the unemployment rate from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). It includes new data on the official and alternative unemployment measurements for January 2015. The widely reported official unemployment rate, which remains the primary measure of labor market performance, is not the most realistic representation of the current state of the economy, because it fails to capture, among other things, individuals who have simply stopped looking for work. The limited perspective on the labor market offered by the official unemployment rate is readily apparent when compared to alternative measures of unemployment.
While the president’s budget proposal is unlikely to go anywhere because Republicans control Congress, it doesn’t change the underlying reality that the long-term budget picture remains bleak because spending will outstrip revenues unless policymakers change course. That means cutting the size and scope of the federal government—not increasing taxes.
If current laws stay in place, spending for Social Security and the major health-care programs, including Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act, will grow faster than the economy. As a rule of thumb, a government’s spending should never grow faster than the economy that’s supposed to pay for it. (It’s worth noting that the CBO lowered its projection of economic growth going forward.) All of this suggests that, rather than celebrating a short-term respite from $1 trillion deficits, we should be even more concerned about reining in the size and scope of the federal government.
Revenues from the gas tax are dedicated to the federal Highway Trust Fund for spending on highway and transit projects. But this revenue, along with the revenue from other smaller dedicated taxes, hasn’t been enough to cover the annual amounts authorized by Congress in recent years, forcing policymakers to transfer more than $60 billion from general funds to the Highway Trust Fund since 2008.
When it comes to funding national defense, policymakers tend to ignore war costs so an accurate assessment on the burden on taxpayer of overseas military ventures is increasingly important as pressure mounts to increase the Pentagon’s regular “base” budget.
This week’s chart presents improper payments made by the thirteen programs that the Office of Management and Budget has labeled “high-error.” The chart ranks transfer programs that allocate at least $750 million in payments from those with the lowest improper payments to those with the highest. The chart also displays the total improper-payment rates as a percentage of total program outlays for each program.