The real news in this story probably isn’t the subject of the Ex-Im Bank (which has some Republicans sneaking around with Democrats in an effort to reopen it) or even General Electric. This is a case study in how the media reports on relatively wonky subjects in an effort to bend public opinion in a progressive direction. In a very lengthy article at the New York Times we learn about the sad closing of yet another GE plant, this one located in Waukesha, Wisconsin. They manufacture huge industrial engines there which can sell for more than a million dollars.
The workers at the plant were recently informed that the facility would be closing and it – along with their jobs – would be moving to Canada. The New York Times is quick to point out that the reason is primarily, if not entirely, the Republicans’ refusal to reopen the Export Import Bank.
What happened in less than two years to change things so much? The answer is a blend of Washington politics, fast-changing markets and corporate self-interest. At the center is a politically charged dispute over a usually obscure agency, the Export-Import Bank.
That dispute reaches a turning point on Monday, when supporters from both parties of the now shuttered federal agency will force a vote in the House of Representatives to reopen it — the culmination of a monthslong revolt against some of the most powerful Republicans in Congress, who want the bank to remain dead.
The imagery and the urgency in the article are clear. The workers will be left without jobs. The Republicans want the bank to remain dead. But is there hope on the horizon? There’s going to be another vote on bringing the bank back if only someone can defeat these powerful Republicans. You can almost hear the Underdog cartoon theme music in the background, but what hero will arise to save America?
Yes… if only we could have the bank reopened then these workers could keep their jobs and General Electric would not be forced to flee the country because of the evil Republicans. It’s a compelling tale, but it gets somewhat spoiled if you read all the way down to the 20th paragraph, beyond all the background and B-roll footage material. That’s when they finally get around to asking GE if that’s really what it means. (Emphasis added)
No ground has been broken and no site has been selected for the new Canadian factory. If financing for the Export-Import Bank is quickly restored, will the Waukesha plant and its workers be spared?
No, Mr. Rice said, the decision is irreversible. An extension of Export-Import Bank funding, he said, would not remove the business risk that the bank might be killed a few years later.
This entire things was a smokescreen. GE has been outsourcing jobs at a frantic pace for years. True, they really enjoyed cashing in on their crony capitalism investments when they could use the Ex-Im bank, but make no mistake… they were moving out of the country anyway. And even if they get the bank back they will continue to move things out of the country as long as it means making a larger profit. And hey… they’re a business built on capitalism, so they should clearly make the best deals they can. But jumping into the political debate over this issue in such a disingenuous way is worthy of scorn.
And the the same goes for the New York Times who were all too willing to support them.