“The Economy of the Past Is Over.” But What Comes Next?

McAuliffeby James A. Bacon

So, Virginia faces a $2.4 billion projected budget shortfall, which Governor Terry McAuliffe blames largely on defense funding cuts mandated by sequestration. Surprise, surprise. We’ve seen this train wreck coming for years. Some (including multiple writers on this blog) have seen it more clearly and shouted about it more loudly than others. Now it’s here — the slowing economic growth, the stalled budget revenues and the general malaise. The question is, what do we do about it?

McAuliffe is making the right noises. As the Washington Post reports, the governor said the state needs to make a fundamental shift away from its reliance on federal spending. “It is obvious that the economy of the past — where we could simply take the economic benefits of the Department of Defense for granted — is over,” he said. “We need to move past this reliance — and build a new entrepreneurial, innovative and dynamic economy.”

Vague and platitudinous as the statement is, it has the virtue of being true. The hard part is figuring out how to move to that new entrepreneurial, innovative and dynamic economy. Part of the answer is not doing the same thing we’ve done before, only more of it.

McAuliffe can make a lasting mark on Virginia if he avoids that trap. But it will be difficult. When he solicits advice, whether in private conversations or through public mechanisms like study commissions, he’ll hear from the established special interests — not from startup entrepreneurs who are too busy building their businesses to participate in the public policy process. He’ll hear from the economic development lobby that we need to spend more money on corporate recruitment. He’ll hear from the convention & visitors lobby that we need to spend more money promoting tourism. He’ll hear from the agriculture lobby that we’ll need to spend more money on overseas trade missions. He’ll hear from incubators that we need to spend more money on incubators. He’ll hear from the public universities we need to spend more money on university R&D. He’ll hear from the chambers of commerce that government, not business, needs to spend more money on workforce development to give Virginians the skills they need in the marketplace.  McAuliffe will touch bases with all the stakeholders and he’ll hear the same thing they’ve been telling state government for decades: Give us more money!

In the early 2000s, back when I started Bacon’s Rebellion,  Governor Mark Warner initiated the state’s first economic development strategic plan. Before running for governor, Warner, a successful technology entrepreneur and venture capitalist, had traveled the state meeting with local business communities and setting up local venture funds. From first-hand experience, he understood the nexus between technology and entrepreneurial innovation. He appointed a highly capable attorney, Michael Schewel, as commerce secretary to oversee the study.

Schewel sought out new thinking, including the work, which was novel at the time, of economic geographer Richard Florida’s on the central role of the creative class. The final product of the study group included some interesting small-bore initiatives, strengthened business-university ties and represented genuine progress over previous thinking. But it conceptualized economic development along the lines of Virginia’s existing administrative organization and reflected the established institutional thinking of the “stakeholders.” Nothing really changed. If Warner and Schewel couldn’t push Virginia economic development into a fundamentally new direction, I fear, no one can. At least they tried. No one since then has made an effort to buck the conventional wisdom.

The most important thing we can do, as I blogged yesterday, is to think how to stimulate new business formation — especially of companies with high growth potential. We need more companies like Washington, D.C.-based SmartThings, an Internet-of-Things start-up which earlier this month sold out to Samsung for $200 million. SmartThings got its start literally two or three years ago with a Kickstarter fund raiser and $15 million in venture funding. That’s the kind of wealth creation we should be looking for.

One strategy would be to cull unnecessary regulation. Contrary to the views of some who frequent this blog, the state regulates many aspects of the economy to the detriment of innovation. Uber, Lyft and the taxicab sector is but one example of many that could be mentioned. Given time, I will detail others. But that is only a partial and incomplete solution. Perhaps more fundamentally, we need to build the kinds of communities where members of the creative class want to live. We need to recognize that economic development equals community development (smart growth). We also can work harder to help government do better those things that only government can do (smart cities).

The traditional pillars of economic development — industrial recruitment, tourism, agriculture — all have valuable contributions to make. But they are not sufficient by themselves to drive the economy forward. It is time for a stem-to-stern rethinking of how to move Virginia to the next level. If the budget crisis prompts that re-evaluation, it may prove more a blessing than a curse.

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18 responses to ““The Economy of the Past Is Over.” But What Comes Next?”

  1. Actually, McAuliffe did do – what most other states would not do with Uber and Lyft and both can now operate – with restrictions.

    but Uber and Lyft are hardly going to transition Va to a non-DOD-funded economy – they are symbolic at best, as are most regulations that cannot have a bulls-eye planted on them as central to why we do not have a particular industry.

    the regulation stuff i a convenient partisan excuse and not much more until I see a real smoking-gun from those that routinely make the claim from everything craft beer to bad breath!

    There ARE REAL urban/regional economies that are NOT reliant on the Feds.

    Are we making the argument that in addition to not having that reliance that they are also less regulated?

    Or are you making the claim that both their economy and Va has too much regulation but their economy is still better anyhow?

    If you can show the BEST economies are, in fact, those that are not only not reliant on the FEDS AND – ALSO have less harmful regulation and THATs the reason they are superior to our economically – then I will applaud your efforts.

    until then – the regulation stuff is just partisan blather..

    fix it or move on… don’t shill for tropes from the right. it does not become you!

  2. TooManyTaxes Avatar

    I don’t see regulation as being the barrier to economic growth in Virginia. I see the importation of poverty to keep the professional caring class employed and wages below market level as greater barriers. I see massive transfers of wealth from the middle class and small to medium business to landowners and developers as a bigger barrier. The Silver Line, for example. A strong economic case was made that dedicated RoW should be given to BRT first and then, with appropriate growth, convert to rail. But we spent billions for a spur-line rail that runs overhead and splits Tysons in two and traffic congestion will not decrease.

    We need people who want to disrupt an industry and make buckets of money. Using DJR’s data, we need people who can cut billions of expenses and hundreds of thousands of state and local government jobs. We need money hungry people who don’t give a sh*t about the “Virginia Way,” but want to create a new one.

    The creative class will follow the money.

    1. Tysons Engineer Avatar
      Tysons Engineer

      Oh god this again. Look TMT, get over the silver line man. You say you wanted BRT, except just like the anti-rail Arlingtonians, you actually just want regular old buses because when a BRT station is built you complain it costs too much. When it has real time information and the ductwork and electrical feeds require new easements and road work, you complain. When it means having to take away a road lane, or adding more ROW to the road you complain.

      Real BRT between at a minimum Arlington, and Reston which is what the Silver line does (except it also serves one stop to DC) would have cost billions just like the SIlver Line. So your idea that oh it would have been so easy, is complete and utter tripe.

      Secondly, your idea that it could just be “converted over to rail” give me a break. You have to be kidding me. Dude, you know nothing on the subject of engineering, cost estimates, or the feasibility of anything you are spouting off about, yet you find no issue bringing them back up over and over and over again.

      1. Tysons Engineer Avatar
        Tysons Engineer

        By one stop I mean one seat, no transfer

      2. TooManyTaxes Avatar

        TE, get over yourself. BRT to rail was an option proposed and evaluated in the 2002 EIS. Obviously, some engineers and others believed it was an option worth studying and technically feasible.

        It was called “Phased Implementation” and described as follows: “2.3.4 The Phased Implementation Alternative would combine the other three Build Alternatives into a program of rapid transit improvements that would be implemented in stages. Following the approach recommended in the 1999 MIS Supplement, the BRT Alternative would be constructed first; then Metrorail would be constructed from the Orange Line through Tysons Corner, connecting to BRT service between Tysons Corner and
        Loudoun County; and finally, Metrorail would be constructed between Tysons Corner and Loudoun County, replacing BRT service in the corridor (see Figure 2.3-18). This approach would allow decision-makers to begin to address the travel needs in the corridor with rapid transit in the near term, while allowing for future development of rail. It is anticipated that operations for BRT would begin in 2005. Metrorail through Tysons Corner would be constructed concurrently with BRT to Loudoun County, and would begin operation soon after implementation of full BRT (2006). Metrorail to Loudoun County is expected to be complete and operational by 2010.”

        BRT would have stayed in the median of the DTR near Tysons, and later, rail would be constructed through Tysons. The rest of the BRT route would later be converted to rail.

        Several members of the Virginia congressional delegation supported this approach because they were concerned (and rightly so) that the rail project would not meet federal standards for funding. I’ve heard two of them say this at public meetings. So the hope was to get better rapid transit to Tysons sooner, and then convert to the more expensive heavy rail. This totally contradicts your argument that BRT would have been similarly expensive as rail.

        While the option was not selected, the people supporting the plan were not fools – even the engineers. But as I’ve learned, you see yourself as the only smart engineer in the Commonwealth. Terry McAuliffe ought to resign, enjoy his millions and let you run the Commonwealth.

        1. Tysons Engineer Avatar
          Tysons Engineer

          And yet

          1) The rail option was selected for phase 1, and has federal funding… kinda disproves your little idea that BRT should have been selected seeing as it wasn’t by all those smart engineers and planners ay? And the numbers that you said were elevated and exaggerated? Actually the early numbers show they are right in line with reality, and possibly being surpassed. Once again. I dont see you talking about this. Strange.

          2) BRT conversion to Rail is such a stupid idea it is laughable and shows how little experience you actually have in construction. I dont give a damn what some lawyers in the house of delegates (the imperial clown shows cheerleaders itself) said. It is a joke of an idea.

          a) To build the BRT, you would need all of the same acquisition cost for Right of way, but unlike the rail system you would need to either integrate the brt into the road network or create it as an elevated system the same way the rail was. Heres the issue, that elevated system doesnt line up with the one that rail would eventually become, nor does the very expensive integration of intersections/highway ramps/ and over passes if it were left at grade. So you end up building the BRT, which if it actually BRT the way that Europe, South America, and Asian countries do it, you could anticipate atleast a 900 million to 1.4 billion dollar cost to run it from Falls Church, down route 7, and out to Loudoun. Still following?

          b) Now you want to come in a few years later, after the rail is obviously needed in Tysons, and replace one infrastructure with a completely different infrastructure. Well theres a phasing problem isnt there? You bought the right of way to build the BRT, but in fact you need a second equivalent right of way in order to keep the BRT in operation and to construct the rail (unless of course you tunnel, which would be a lot more expensive too no?) So now you are basically not just buying new riight of way, but building new columns and piers, new railway, new signals, all the same costs.

          c) what you have effectively done is double the cost, if not more (because phased implementation is a real B) so that you could say you ran BRT for a few years and phased implementation.

          pretty damn smart planners and delegates. I’m shocked! SHOCKED! I say that it wasn’t selected as the option.

          PS if you want to degrade my engineering skills, you might want to actually provide arguments that won’t just bolster my case. Now off you go to read a VDOT study and take their word on everything they are talking about, despite the fact they are speaking about things that are WAAAAAy WAAAAAAY outside their field of knowledge. Bye.

  3. these are the largest METRO Areas in the US:

    Core city (cities) Metro area population
    New York City 19,949,502
    Los Angeles 13,131,431
    Chicago 9,537,289
    Dallas–Fort Worth 6,810,913
    Houston 6,313,158
    Philadelphia 6,034,678
    Washington, D.C. 5,949,859
    Miami 5,828,191
    Atlanta 5,522,942
    Boston 4,684,299
    San Francisco 4,516,276
    Phoenix 4,398,762
    San Bernardino-Riverside 4,380,878
    Detroit 4,294,983
    Seattle 3,610,105
    Minneapolis–St. Paul 3,459,146
    San Diego 3,211,252
    Tampa–St. Petersburg 2,870,569
    St. Louis 2,810,056
    Baltimore 2,770,738

    now here is the GDP per capita:

    Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area 75,434.62

    San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 75,178.23

    Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH Metropolitan Statistical Area 68,906.48

    Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA Metropolitan Statistical Area 67,219.14

    New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA Metropolitan Statistical Area 65,441.31

    Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX Metropolitan Statistical Area 64,962.16

    Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI Metropolitan Statistical Area 59,601.20

    Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX Metropolitan Statistical Area 58,211.73

    Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD Metropolitan Statistical Area 58,157.93

    Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 57,350.72

    Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI Metropolitan Statistical Area 56,265.20

    Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA Metropolitan Statistical Area 51,518.07

    Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area 46,285.16

    Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI Metropolitan Statistical Area 46,033.87

    Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ Metropolitan Statistical Area 45,458.18

    Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 25,993.34

    also note the presence of Detroit which is listed as an MSA – Detroit-Warren-Dearborne.

    but what exactly does it mean when the Washington area – ranked sixth in size is ranked first in per capita GDP?

    Bonus Question – what percent of the Washington economy is due to Defense spending (vs non-Defense spending and Medicare, etc)?

    here’s a list of the military bases in Virginia:


  4. back to the formation of businesses.

    People may recall the efforts of the govt to either prevent the creation of monopolies like Standard Oil or the break up of monopolies like the Bells and even IBM.

    We don’t do much of that any more. The larger companies are buying up the smaller but promising companies – willy nilly – with much less objection from the Govt than in the past.

    I think – that the reasons why we are seeing the growing dominance of the bigger companies is – de-regulation – to basically allow the bigger companies the latitude to essentially build de-facto monopolies.

    Part of this is the realization that other countries in a global economy do not see big company monopolies the same way we used to – and if we had continued to keep the bigger companies from acquiring the smaller ones – they would have ended up dealing with much larger rivals in a world economy.

    This is the danger of looking at something that is changing – and trying to attribute it to – a partisan view rather than a more open-minded examination which would permit other causes to be considered beyond the idea that smaller companies are – failing.

    here’s a list of smaller companies that GOOGLE has acquired:

    there are more than 160 companies and other big companies like Apple and Facebook are doing the same thing.

    So I think it is important to distinguish between companies that – essentially fail and ones that have been bought up by others and “disappear” – something – again – that the US tried to prevent not that long ago.

    the moral to this story is – that this is not your father’s economy and the reasons why are complex and don’t lend themselves to partisan talking points.

    I’m amused by the “surprise” from the right these days with respect to McAuliffes business acumen and vision as he had been thoroughly portrayed as a candidate to be a big spending, big govt “socialist”…

    Sometimes I think the GOP so hates not being in charge that nothing else matters – even if the opposition candidate does exactly what the GOP would do – it’s still not good enough. They have to have control or else.

    Oh – and on the MediAid expansion – folks might find this interesting:

    ” Uncompensated care has “gone down by 30 percent just in the first few months” of Medicaid expansion in the states that adopted it.”


    so we are going to have a 2.4 billion shortfall and the expansion would benefit us by more than 3.9 billion?

    it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

    1. TooManyTaxes Avatar

      One of the reasons why antitrust enforcement has changed is the rapid pace of change in technology. Neither DoJ nor the FTC can keep up, especially when there is a long-running lawsuit.

      A good example is the fed’s antitrust suit against Microsoft. It’s economic power came from its control over PC operating systems and the ability to use that control to expand into other products, e.g., Internet browsers. But, as we’ve seen, the expansion of mobile devices, their operating systems and apps has left Microsoft in the dust in many submarkets.

      Full disclosure. I was involved in the federal suit, representing a Microsoft competitor.

  5. Cville Resident Avatar
    Cville Resident

    In the spirit of this blog, I’d point you to today’s edition of Richmond Bizsense. A couple of articles on the scarcity of industrial land in the region.

    So….while it’s true that some aspects of the Virginia economy (military, defense contracting, federal gov’t) are weakening….when you look at other areas…industrial sites are almost impossible to come by in the Richmond region.

    As you are in Richmond, I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on why Richmond’s industrial sector seems to be doing so well.

    1. Cville, I’m on vacation right now so I missed that BizSense article. I’m surprised to hear it, though. The Richmond region has done a pretty good job of industrial recruitment — that Chinese paper plant is a huge coup. All I can guess is that no one is developing any new industrial land and that businesses are looking for vacant land, not retrofitting old industrial buildings. A lot of industrial buildings near the urban core are being converted to commercial and residential uses.

      1. Cville Resident Avatar
        Cville Resident


  6. In terms of new business formation and the persistence of older and more established companies….

    could it have something to do with the government’s relaxation of enforcement of monopolies?

    People may recall the efforts of the govt to either prevent the creation of monopolies like Standard Oil or the break up of monopolies like the Bells and even IBM.

    We don’t seem to do much of that any more. The larger companies are buying up the smaller but promising companies – willy nilly – with much less objection from the Govt than in the past. I’m trying to recall the last merger or acquisition the US govt actually nixed.

    I think – that the reasons why we are seeing the growing dominance of the bigger companies is actually – de-regulation, LESS govt involvement – to basically allow the bigger companies the latitude to essentially build de-facto modern-day monopolies that in the past might have been not approved.

    Part of this might be the realization that other countries in a global economy do not see big company monopolies as harmful in the same way we used to –and thus our own companies, if kept small would be at a disadvantage in a global economy against titan-sized competitors.

    Could it be that people are too quick to decide what is affecting the economy and perhaps too inclined to put it in a partisan lens?

    This is the danger of looking at something that is changing – and trying to attribute it to – a partisan view rather than a more open-minded examination which would permit other causes to be considered beyond the idea that smaller companies are – failing – because the govt has done something “wrong” to hurt small companies.

    Any REAL business person will tell you that they fear competition as much or more than the government. Nothing kills a business quicker than a bigger, stronger competitor – ask any Mom and Pop destroyed – not by nasty govt regulation but by behemoths like Walmart.

    here’s a list of more than 160 smaller companies that GOOGLE has acquired:

    Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, etc are doing the same thing.

    Oracle dealt with competing start-ups by buying them…

    So I think it is important to distinguish between companies that – essentially fail and ones that have been bought up by others and “disappear” when coming up with a narrative to blame govt for the effect.

    the moral to this story is – that this is not your father’s economy and the reasons why are complex and don’t lend themselves to partisan talking points but that don’t keep the air from being flurried with them!

    so, yes, you CAN BLAME the govt for no longer regulating monopolies as closely as they used to, i.e. LESS REGULATION – that has in effect, made smaller companies much more vulnerable to bigger competitors

    AND we CAN BLAME govt for cutting Defense spending so we can reduce the deficit but it does seem to take away jobs – that some here claim would be replaced by private sector jobs.. but maybe not overnight, eh?

    AND we CAN BLAME the current POTUS for not only cutting the subsidies to Medicare Advantage (and making those policies cost more to the buyers) AS WELL AS – stating his intention to more strictly means test Medicare Part B by making retired people with 85K in income actually pay more than 100.00 a month for guaranteed (you can never be turned down) health insurance.

    Yes – there is no shortage of nay-sayers and Blamers these days – many of them who claim to be ‘conservative’ .. but who in fact – actually give that philosophy a bad name especially when you put the word “fiscal” in front of it.

    The question now is .. “What in the DOODA is McAuliffe going to do about reduced Federal spending in Virginia”?

    My question is – why was that question not asked about McDonnell?

    and a snark answer might be – that the man was otherwise occupied…

  7. Tysons Engineer Avatar
    Tysons Engineer

    The things lacking from how I see it (someone attempting to create a start up)

    What you need:
    Housing costs must be low, but at the same time, the area must be attractive to young coders/engineers/tech folks. Thats tricky. Its gotta look and feel like Arlington or DC or atleast parts of Fairfax to get talent. No one is going to move to Danville (sorry Danville) who is of that generation with those skills and is not overly expensive due to experience and length of career to date. This is the hardest balance to strike. I think to date Arlington (as expensive as it is) has done it best, I think Tysons could do it better if it increases supply as it has been doing for apartments.

    Beyond this, you have to have a good VC culture. The DC metro area has this to a large extent, but the rest of the state is a deadzone.

    My forecast:

    The only areas I could see other than NOVA taking up the slack would be Richmond and possibly a Roanoke -> Blacksburg Tech Corridor but the state and the locals need to stop prioritizing the wrong things. Start making stronger towns/cities, incorporate better transit, more mixed use high density development, and in general promote yourself as a Denver esc open to all free minds environment. If you shift this culture in those areas, you shift how people see it. For so long, people have seen Virginia as a deep south, transvaginal, heavy right social Cucinelli state.

    Sorry, but you have to come to terms with what that did to driving away millenials and yes, those are the people you want. The state gained some, but only in the form of overflow for people who actually moved to “DC” but end up in NOVA. The rest of the state is seen as a deadzone.

    1. virginiagal2 Avatar

      Out of curiosity, if you’re doing a startup, WHY on earth are you focusing solely on young tech folks?

      Virginia has a huge population of technical people, and most of them are not twenty-somethings with hoodies.

      I’m also nurturing a baby startup, but I’m looking more to women who code, older workers who have been laid off or want a career change to something more entrepreneurial, and people who are great at coding and can do it but don’t have the CS degree.

      I haven’t had any problems identifying them – granted right now I don’t need a ton of them, but I’ve identified more than I could possibly hire – and most of them live in areas that are either suburban, exurban, or rural. Remember, with tech jobs, telecommuting is not a problem.

      Now, that said, I am into horses, so I know a lot of very smart people who choose to live outside the city core for lifestyle reasons – but if I can find them, so can someone else. AND – people with good tech skills who want to live in the country are willing to work for less.

      All that matters is brains and ability. It doesn’t have to come in a package wearing a hoodie that was born after 1990 and is into brew pubs.

      1. Tysons Engineer Avatar
        Tysons Engineer

        I’m not. 20, 30 somethings are fine. The problem is 40 somethings are usually outdated in their knowledge base. Put out an ad for developers with ability in both objective C and a digital graphics background and see what age the respondents are.

        This may be horribly superficial by me, and surely there are 40+ who don’t fit this bill, but its the reality and its why so many tech startups have all those people with hoodies eating ramen.

        Secondly, its a matter of pay. A 40 something coming from a corporate background expects much more than a 20 something looking for a first or even second job. The 40 something has had 20+ years of annual pay adjustments, benefits packages, etc. The 20 something knows he’s entry level… yet both can do the same amount of work, if not more by the 20/30 something.

        1. virginiagal2 Avatar

          I don’t know how you get that 40 somethings are usually outdated in their knowledge base. I keep hearing it, and in real life, I don’t see it. I’d love to know where those 40+ people are that are resting on their laurels.

          Offhand, every tech person I know aged 40-65 who’s still working is continuously learning – including quite a few friends, ages up to sixties, working on their own to learn native app coding and doing their own native apps, not because they use it in their job but because they think it’s cool.

          You can teach someone objective C and Cocoa and digital graphics. They can learn it on their own at little or no cost to you. It’s getting to where there is an embarassment of riches in free and cheap online training, from Apple itself to Safari Books to Lynda to Coursera to you name it. People are taking advantage of this on their own time.

          You can have people submit work samples, and work as contractors until they prove out or not – I’m not suggesting hiring on spec when I say take a chance.

          What’s harder to teach people are hard-won things like, write it realizing someone is going to have to update the damn thing at some point, why you need to communicate what you’re doing if you get cute, and that you won’t actually remember this six months from now as well as you think you will, so actually document what you did for yourself as well as for everyone else.

          Saying the above is easy. Knowing it in your bones is harder. Doing it right the first time means that, for the same amount of work, you are getting more done. It also means you’re not accumulating what I’ve heard called “technical debt” – the things that weren’t quite done right the first time or weren’t documented at the time.

          How effective you are is not just measured by hours put in or lines of code. When your code takes half as much work to update, you’re actually more productive. Doing the process right affects productivity long-term.

          A lot of 40, 50, and 60 year olds are getting laid off. Someone looking at a mortgage and no job is likely to be flexible about salary – and if you’re getting something better (see “harder to teach” above) with less rework and fewer bugs, they may also be worth paying more.

          FWIW, YMMV, etc.

  8. Late responding, as usual. Busy day.

    This topic can only make one humble in offering thoughts. No obvious solutions, and surely no entirely happy, or even probable ones. But at one level, we need to think of Virginia’s problem as national. So at at that level, given the world’s precarious condition, I see no happy outcome for world peace and security but for America to become more, not less, and more wisely involved in the most critical factors affecting these world goals. On one hand, more active and strategic expenditures for economic aid, and military engagement on a far more savvy basis than heretofore: what we should have done in Libya and Syria, and are doing now in Iraq. So military expenditures should increase, with the taxes to support them. And Virginia would benefit from that.

    Expenditures to combat and adjust to global warming will be essential as well. Norfolk isn’t expendable! That will take tax money also. And, most critically, phase out of the coal that accounts for 40% of GHG. That will harm Virginia’s SW. So we’ll need to help those affected communities.

    So to is America’s engagement and concern about addressing global health emergencies. Investment in health will surely be helpful to Virginia.

    Jim’s point about reducing state, and I’d add local, regulations is critical; we don’t fully appreciate their costs.

    But what this means is that the long term welfare of America depends on more globalized concern, more “socialized” investment in education, health, infrastructure, and energy development, with higher taxes that help, at least, to equalize our appallingly, and increasingly, unequal society and economy. How likely is this consensus? Well, not very. So, we can contemplate Rome in the late 4th century, when its citizens simply couldn’t mobilize against its challenges.

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