On May 21 Bob McDonnell told the right-wing people at Human Events this about the debt ceiling and the deficit: “The only way that it is appropriate to increase the debt limit is if there is a tangible, written, irreversible set of structural reforms in spending in the United States government that makes sure we are on a downward trajectory in spending that will get us to a balanced budget much farther. If we don’t achieve those goals, then I don’t see any gain in increasing the debt limit.” In other words, in May McDonnell was just fine with a default by the United States unless the GOPers got whatever they wanted.
What a difference a couple of months make! Just this week when Moody’s Investor Services said that Virginia would be one of five states to have its bond rating downgraded as a result of a federal default, McDonnell changed his tune. On MSNBC, Bob “Flip-Flop” McDonnell insisted, “There’s got to be a compromise, I’m not going to tell them how to do it. I’d suggest they try spending cuts – everybody knows they’re spending too much. But they’ve got to get this done immediately or the uncertainty for the business community is going to be just devastating to our country.”
I hate to point out to McDonnell just what drastic, abrupt cuts in federal spending would mean for the state he pretends to lead, but I will. This state gets back from Washington $1.40 for each $1 we send to the federal government. There are over 300,000 federal employees living in Virginia. The state has predicated the economic health of Hampton Roads on military spending. In other words, we are one of the states that depends on the welfare of the federal government for its well-being.
As Jacob Brankley from Blacksburg wrote as a comment to the Richmond Times-Dispatch about McDonnell, “Interesting that the governor stayed on the sidelines as if this wasn’t his problem until the state’s Aaa credit rating was on a downgrade watch list because of VA’s reliance on federal spending. It was laughable to watch him on CNBC bragging about how VA is the top state for business when in fact it is profoundly if not crucially reliant on federal spending. Republicans want smaller government and spending cuts instead of higher taxes. Well, just where do they think that the federal spending cuts should come from? To cut federal spending would be to hit VA’s primary source of revenue. They can’t have it both ways. Are they so deluded as to think they can have their cake and eat it too? I’m sure the governor feels that there should be steep cuts in federal spending…just so long as none of them hit his state.”
That;s exactly on the mark. There is no way Virginia could be the relatively affluent state we know if Ken Cuccinelli, Bob McDonnell, and their followers actually got their way. This won’t be the last flip-flop McDonnell will be forced to execute.