Cliff's Natural Resources is no Mom & Pop shop — the mining giant has some clout in Washington.

But Cliff's is not on the same level as Caterpillar and General Electric when it comes to political connections. So when Cliff's went to Washington and asked Uncle Sam not to subsidize its Australian competition, Washington in effect said, I feel your pain, but Caterpillar and GE need the money.

Caterpillar and GE, you see, were selling equipment and services to Roy Hill mining, the Australian mining company owned by Australia's richest woman, Gina Rinehart. So the U.S. Export-Import Bank has loaned $635 million in U.S. taxpayer money to Roy Hill to grease the skids.

This hurts U.S. mining companies that compete with Roy Hill (such as Cliff's), and it also potentially hurts the U.S. steel industry, because Roy Hill sells its ore to China, eventually becoming Chinese steel. But it helps Caterpillar and GE, so … JOBS!