The Export-Import Bank is a federally funded U.S. government entity that has existed for too long — 80 years. Thankfully, the bank was defunded by Congress. But now, efforts are being made in the U.S. Senate to revive it by attaching it to a transportation bill, a bailout of the Highway Trust Fund, itself another federal idiocy.

The stated purpose is to support jobs in the U.S. by financing loans for small American companies who export their products. As in many federal projects, the reality is far different.

According to the Mercatus Center — and Export-Import Bank data — only 0.37 percent of all exports from Louisiana in 2014 used Ex-Im financing (only 0.51 percent from 2007-14 altogether). The other 99.63 percent get financing from private lenders as they should, not the federal government.

It turns out that most of the companies that use the Ex-Im Bank do not need it —they merely use it because it’s there. Examples would be Boeing, Caterpillar, ExxonMobil and such companies so large that they have no difficulty obtaining private financing.

A recent Ex-Im project failure is the notorious Solyndra solar panel company boondoggle, to the tune of over 535 million taxpayer dollars, lost when the company went bankrupt. What a perfect example of why the federal government should NOT be in the banking business! The Solyndra company went bankrupt, even after receiving $535 million of loan guarantees from us, the U.S. taxpayers!

Louisiana Sens. David Vitter and Bill Cassidy should be urged to vote against the reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank. The federal government should not be in the business of financing companies.

But, if this Senate effort goes through, then it needs to be stopped in the U.S. House of Representatives, and all of Louisiana’s congressional representatives, especially Steve Scalise, should vote against it.

Jim Stephens