The Washington Post

Wait, who built that?

In his featured convention speaking role, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, a one-time Republican vice presidential short-lister, stressed the success of states led by Republican governors, including his own.

"Every American deserves the opportunity of a limited, responsible government that performs its core functions well and then gets the heck out of the way. That’s when good things happen in the United States of America," he said.

"Republican governors lead seven of the 10 states with the lowest unemployment rates," he noted.

Virginia's own unemployment rate, which has fallen since McDonnell took office in 2010, has remained steadfastly below the national average.

But one major reason for that achievement that McDonnell didn't mention: massive federal spending. Ten cents of every federal procurement dollar spent anywhere on Earth is spent in Virginia. As of 2010, more than 15,000 Virginia companies held federal contracts, a number that has almost tripled since 2001.

As Stephen Fuller, director of the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University, once said of Virginia: "We have a rich uncle, I like to remind people: Uncle Sam."

Rosalind Helderman is a political enterprise and investigations reporter for the Washington Post.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
Sleep advice you won't find in baby books
In defense of dads
Scenes from Brazil's Carajás Railway
Play Videos
For good coffee, sniff, slurp and spit
How to keep your child safe in the water
How your online data can get hijacked
Play Videos
How to avoid harmful chemicals in school supplies
Full disclosure: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1 ghoul
How much can one woman eat?
Play Videos
What you need to know about Legionnaires' disease
How to get organized for back to school
Pandas, from birth to milk to mom
Next Story
Rachel Weiner · August 28, 2012

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.