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Terry McAuliffe’s Economic Illiteracy

By Greg L | 29 July 2013 | Local Economy, Virginia Politics | 4 Comments

So Terry McAuliffe has no idea what he’s talking about when the subject turns to Virginia. That’s hardly a surprise.

What is a surprise is that this “entrepreneur” who supposedly is gifted with so much business acumen seems to be so utterly clueless when it comes to economics and economic development, no matter the locale regarding which the discussion is based. Consider this statement:

“What Martinsville and other areas need is they need to open up their communities and how you do that I say, four-way 58 all the way out from the port so we can get the goods from the port all the way to the commerce of America. That will help them.”

Not that it is terribly easy to derive a clear idea from this gibberish, but it seems that in Terry McAuliffe’s mind the problem of economic development in the hard-hit rural areas of the state is to make sure that imports coming into Portsmouth can efficiently make their way by truck to retail centers in these areas. He wasn’t talking about moving goods and materials to the port, he was pretty clearly talking about getting goods and materials from the port. So where would these goods go, given that there’s not much industrial development in places like Danville and Martinsville that requires truck-shipped goods from the Portsmouth Marine Terminal?


You don’t ship iron ore or other bulk industrial commodities by truck if you have any choice, and from what I know of the terminal almost all of the cargo coming in is containerized. Containerized cargo is typically retail goods that are taken to a distribution center and trans-shipped to retail outlets and these days plenty of those containers are bearing the names of Chinese firms in addition those the usual Maersk-Sealand logos. While it’s possible that parts and assemblies destined for some sort of final assembly process could come in by container, there’s not much in the way of final assembly plants in south-side, if any at all.

The majority of the container traffic moving along Route 58 are in fact retail goods.  Many of those goods are from China. Getting more Chinese retail goods to Martinsville isn’t going to lift the economy of south-side or any other part of Virginia, unless someone can possibly make some rational economic argument that the key to our economic future is a more efficient supply chain flowing into retailers like Wal-Mart and CostCo. Their supply chain is already pretty darned efficient and adding more capacity for it (to the extent that capacity isn’t there already, which is just ignorant) will not deliver jobs or economic activity to Virginia. To claim otherwise is utterly foolish, and demonstrates a shocking level of economic illiteracy on the part of someone who thinks he’s entitled to run for Governor of Virginia.

Growing Virginia’s economy depends much more on generating exports rather than imports, and Terry darned well ought to understand that. The way to foster that export economy is to make sure taxes are low, regulations are at a reasonable minimum, energy is plentiful and affordable at the wholesale level, and that the efforts of Virginia’s government are trustworthy, rather than Potemkin Village exercises like the ones Terry is famous for.  All of these policies are the precise opposite of what Terry McAuliffe advocates.

If Terry McAuliffe doesn’t understand at all what challenges exist within Virginia’s economy, it makes perfect sense that the carnival barker worthy prescriptions he suggests are utterly irrelevant and wholly inadequate to resolving them.

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  1. Doug Brown said on 29 Jul 2013 at 4:31 pm:
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    Economics for Terry McAuliffe is a more parochial concept than you are assuming - it’s what is in his wallet and his friends’ not what is good for Virginia’s economic overall well being.

    If he wins, Lord McAuliffe will be a more apt title than Governor.

  2. Clare Voyant said on 30 Jul 2013 at 6:02 pm:
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    “Terry” (It’s too hard to spell McAuliffe) is a snake oil salesman who came to Washington and chose to live in VA out of convenience. He has virtually no record of public service, but ample evidence of a large ego. His electric car adventure was seen as a scam by VA and rejected.

    He is gifted…..with the “gift of gab”. Sadly, the voters of VA will elect him Governor in November because “Ken” (Cuccinelli is hard to spell as well) is too extreme for purple VA today. The margin may well be 55-45. Oh woe will be the “Old Dominion”.

  3. Anonymous said on 31 Jul 2013 at 10:11 am:
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    “Too Extreme” “Too Extreme” it’s funny how much Democratic politics and rhetoric has been finely tuned to sound like incantations. It won’t be too long before we are all living a Monty Python sketch where all campaign rhetoric will simply be “Witch! Witch!”


  4. Skepp said on 31 Jul 2013 at 11:08 am:
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    CV - why did YOU choose to live in Virginia?

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