Pulling plug on Ex-Im bank would damage US defenses

Opponents of the Export-Import Bank, which finances U.S. exports when private banks won’t, are using free-market arguments to justify shutting down the bank — a course of action that will only exacerbate the un-free nature of much of the international marketplace in which our companies compete (“Business leaders lash out at both parties, tell Congress: Do your job,” April 17).

Critics say Ex-Im financing distorts global trade. But China, Brazil, India and Europe outspend us 7-to-1 or more in export financing and shamelessly subsidize their own companies. If Congress pulls the plug on the Ex-Im Bank’s relatively modest export financing, it won’t convince foreign countries to stop theirs — it will just mean that as much as $41 billion in annual exports could vanish from our economy, together with untold jobs and productive capacity.

In particular, the commercial sales of American aerospace manufacturers would suffer. This would tremendously intensify the pressures on our defense industrial base, which is already being severely afflicted by massive and reckless cuts in the Pentagon’s budget. If these manufacturers disappear, we’ll be forced to meet tomorrow’s threats with yesterday’s weapons. Faced with the next gunfight, the United States could be left holding a knife. 

Under present and foreseeable circumstances, a vote against reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank is a vote to weaken our economy, help foreign trade cheats steal our jobs and industrial base and, in the process, weaken our national security. Congress should say thanks, but no thanks.

From Frank Gaffney Jr., founder and president of the Center for Security Policy, Washington, D.C.

Women, their families need healthcare law

For some women, $25 may not seem like a lot of money. It’s two movie tickets or dinner with friends. For others, $25 can make the difference between whether or not they can afford to go to the doctor for an annual exam. Studies have found that more than half of all women report problems getting healthcare — e.g., not filling a prescription or skipping a medical test — because of cost. Thanks to the healthcare law, many women’s preventive health services, like pap smears and mammograms, are now available without a copay.

Because of the practice of “gender rating” in the individual insurance market, a woman purchasing her own health insurance in many states will pay more than a man for the same coverage. Nationwide, the effect of these discrepancies is staggering. According to the National Women’s Law Center, gender rating costs women approximately $1 billion a year. Thanks to the healthcare law, this discriminatory practice is on its way out. 

From Jacqueline Davenport, Takoma Park, Md.

Order to kill bin Laden was the wrong call

It can only be hoped that Mitt Romney would not have fallen to that most basic human response — he killed, he must die — in the case of Osama bin Laden (“Obama Web ad says Romney wouldn’t have ordered bin Laden raid,” April 27) but instead follow the much more realistic and useful proposition that if bin Laden could figure out how to kill 3,000 people in one attack he must have other plans to repeat the deed, and also must know lots of bad people who could do the same. So lock him up and ask him questions for the rest of his natural life.

Let’s hope Romney is smart enough to avoid catering to the lowest human instincts — President Obama’s apparent answer to every problem — with using every tool available to reduce the possibility of future deadly attacks.

From Arnold Nelson, Chicago 

Real solution in sight for FEMA flood insurance

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s decision to ask for a two-year National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) extension is understandable but entirely wrongheaded (“FEMA warns Congress clock is ticking on flood insurance program,” April 25). While it’s certainly frustrating to see NFIP renewed time and again with no resolution to its problems — reauthorization fights have been going on since 2008 — a real solution is in sight. For the first time in more than a decade, both the House and the Senate seem to be on almost the same page: substantially similar legislation for a five-year reauthorization has already passed the House as a whole and in key Senate committees. Some leadership from FEMA, which has been sorely lacking to date, could help move the bill over the finish line.

From Matthew Glans, legislative specialist for The Heartland Institute, Chicago