By Peter Galuszka

As with fruit tree blossoms, economic recovery is in the springtime air in the Old Dominion. Virginia’s unemployment rate dropped to 5.8 percent in January, a three-year low. The question now is who gets credit for it.

Leading the “credit me” pack is Gov. Robert F. McDonnell who insists that his job creation policies are responsible for the uptick.  “Now the good news that we’re beginning to come out of this economic downturn stronger and better than most other states,” he says.

Setting himself him as a “jobs” creator is especially important to McDonnell now that his ambitions to be considered as a vice presidential candidate have taken major hits with his handling of the extremely divisive moves by hard-right legislators to promote their anti-abortion agenda. McDonnell’s positions have been mocked on televisions shows such as Saturday Night Live. Doonesbury is running cartoon strips this week lambasting conservative white males in Texas (read “Virginia,” too) for their extreme ham-handedness in how they regard women considering their legal right to abortion.

To be sure, McDonnell has worked hard to get more jobs in Virginia. One notable example is which will open distribution centers in Dinwiddie and Chesterfield Counties that will create hundreds of new jobs. Problem is: McDonnell let Amazon get away with paying a state sales tax as an incentive until the General Assembly shot down that idea.

Another problem with McDonnell’s claims is that some of the jobs he may be creating are just in the pipeline. He did win a $3 billion transportation bond package, but the bulk of those jobs are a bit down the road.

What’s unsettling about McDonnell’s claims, however, is that he leaves out the role that federal jobs and government spending played in the recovery. As a former Army officer, he ought to know that Virginia is chock-a-block with defense jobs. President Barack Obama gets no credit, either. Virginia benefited from Obama’s stimulus package in 2009 and 2010, while Republicans such as McDonnell whined away about “socialism” and runaway deficit spending. Yet those very policies have finally borne fruit.

James Koch, an economics professor at Old Dominion University, says that McDonnell’s job creation program was helpful. “But the truth is governors don’t have very many tools to influence what’s happening nationally, and what’s happening in Virginia reflects the national recovery in many respects,” he adds.

Predictably, Democratic Party had stronger criticism of McDonnell for ignoring Obama’s contribution. The bottom line is that McDonnell does have the right idea on creating jobs. But really should give credit where it is due.

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  1. Darrell Avatar been doing a drivabout lately. Seen all kinds of building roads and stuff from NC THRU to MS and Jacksonville, but not in VA. What.s up with that? Tomorrow will be in Savannah and I bet there will be actual workers up that way as well. VA may claim they are leading, but the facts indicate otherwise.

  2. wait. wait. I thought Obama’s job-killing regulations and wanton stimulus/tarp deficits were responsible for this economic mess and we’d not recover until Obama is dispatched !

  3. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    I am glad to see you are finally understanding the Baconauts and Boomergeddons.
    There can be no recovery while Obama’s in office. If there is, he has blown out the budget.
    Get him either way. See?

  4. Darrell Avatar

    Fixing roads is not recovery.

  5. well we do know that Bush did not know how to “recover” and we have a passel of GOP critters who think they know how to recover but I gotta tell you – those guys for the most part don’t know their head from a hole in a ground and anyone that thinks they do is heavy into fantasy and tooth fairy type yearnings.

    The GOP lives in a Reagan dream world. They think he was somebody different from who he really was.

    this is who Reagan really was:

    when you show this to GOpers.. they lose their lunch.

  6. Andrea Epps Avatar
    Andrea Epps

    Well, if the recovery has been SO fantastic, and we have all of these new jobs, CAN I PLEASE HAVE ONE BEFORE I LOOSE MY DARN HOUSE!!!!!!!
    543 applications in the past 15 months. Yea, GREAT recovery!

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