Bob McDonnell proved two things yesterday in Roanoke at a forum on job creation hosted by the Southern Growth Policies Board and devoted to the promotion of manufacturing in the South. First, he has no solutions to the loss of Virginia manufacturing jobs to lower-cost labor overseas except to parrot the usual right-wing mantra of cutting corporate taxes, ending regulation, letting business do whatever it pleases. Second, he is no stand-up comedian.
In a roundtable discussion Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, asked McDonnell what the federal government could do to spur manufacturing growth. McDonnell, believeing that he was hilarious, replied, “You mean dissolve?”
Exactly what would be the consequences to Virginia of the federal government deciding to “dissolve”? Let’s look at the numbers.
According to the Office of Personnel Management, Virginia is home to almost 308,000 federal workers and retirees, second only to California. Every one of those people pays taxes to localities and the state of Virginia and supports local economies throughout the state. If you like your schools, fire departments, and police in northern Virginia, thank a federal worker.
For every $1 we Virginians pay to the federal government, we get back $1.51 through various federal programs. Virginia also is No. 1 in federal defense spending, surpassing California and Texas. So, try to picture Hampton Roads without the federal defense establishment. It isn’t pretty.
McDonnell’s feeble attempt at humor falls flat in the face of reality for us Virginians. Conservative GOPers who deride and malign the federal government while hugely benefiting from it are like a spoiled-brat teenager screaming at his parents, “I hate you. I wish you were dead!….I need money. Can I have my allowance now?”