You want to have some fun? Read this article and substitute “United States” for “Virginia,” “Barack Obama” for “Bob McDonnell,” “Democratic” for “Republican,” “Nancy Pelosi” for “William Howell,” and “Ray Lahood” for “Sean Connaughton.” Also, multiply all the numbers by 10 or 20-fold. Now, see if this doesn’t sound almost exactly like the Democratic Congress’ “stimulus” – billions of dollars in countercyclical, Keynesian, “shovel-ready” spending – or what. For instance:
*Borrowed money? Check. “The Governor’s proposals, when fully implemented, would pump $4 billion into road, transit and rail projects in the Commonwealth over the next three years, dramatically speeding up congestion-reducing efforts and increasing job-creation and economic development efforts statewide.”
*Doing it now (“shovel ready!”), when the economy needs a boost, when people are out of work, and when interest rates and wages are low? Check. “‘The bankers all say that this is a generational opportunity because interest rates are at all-time lows and because the costs of construction are at their lowest point in the last 10 years,’ Howell said.”
*Spending (borrowed) government money (deficit spending) to create jobs? Check. “For every $100 million spent on highway construction, it is estimated 3,000 jobs are created or supported.” Also:
Speaking about these proposals at the Transportation Conference the Governor noted, “I want to make clear, right now is the best time in modern Virginia history to get new roads and bridges built. First, construction prices have fallen dramatically due to competition and the state of the economy. Second, interest rates are at historic lows for our AAA bond rated state. Third, our citizens need the good jobs that will come with these projects. Fourth, we need to reduce congestion and build transportation infrastructure today. We need to get dollars out the door quickly, and road, transit and rail projects underway now. Leveraging our scarce transportation resources to make them go further is smart management.”
The Governor continued, “Over the past two decades state support for transportation has not kept up with our growth as a Commonwealth. This has led to more congestion, longer commutes and missed economic opportunities. That trend must be reversed, and this is the time to do it. We have already, in just the first six months of this fiscal year, advertised almost double the amount of road work as during this same time period last year. By putting $4 billion into transportation over the next three years we will continue that progress, and get more Virginians back to work in the process. There is nothing partisan about road building. There are not Republican or Democratic roads. I hope that Republicans and Democrats will come together to back these responsible, and necessary, portions of our transportation plan. We can’t solve all of our transportation challenges all at once, but we can take significant steps forward over time. These portions of our plan are one of those steps, and implementing them will create good new jobs for our citizens today.”
To summarize, Bob McDonnell is proposing: borrowing money, to fund “shovel-ready” programs, to invest in Virginia’s infrastructure, to create jobs, and to engage in class, counter-cyclical Keynesian, government economic stimulus. Is this the Virginia version of the Federal “Stimulus” package to a “t” or what?
Meanwhile, Barack Obama cuts a deal with Republicans to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans? What’s going on here, as Barack Obama moves right, Bob McDonnell has decided to do the opposite and move sharply left? I mean, I know that Virginia tends to do the opposite of the party that controls the White House, but this is taking it a little bit far, wouldn’t you say? 🙂