Remember that bit of advice that was provided the fictional character Tom Sanders by an anonymous co-worker, via email, in the Michael Crichton novel Disclosure? Sanders was being admonished for focusing his time and effort on circumstances surrounding a sexual encounter with a female superior at his place of employment and its subsequent devolution into a charge - and countercharge - of sexual harrassment. The "friend" was trying to get Sanders to focus on the solution to "the problem," which would in itself resolve his other issues.
I feel the need to send the same email message to Congressman Rick Boucher.
RICK, SOLVE THE PROBLEM.
We are suffering from a precipitate and accelerating decline in our manufacturing base here in Southwest and Southside Virginia. Plants are closing and owners are shipping jobs overseas. The problem, put simply, is this: the cost of manufacturing a product here is higher than is the cost to manufacture that same product in Indonesia and to have it then shipped here. Fixing the problem requires that we reduce the cost of manufacturing.
And Boucher could help by working to reduce government taxes, fees, and costly mandates, if he weren't obsessed with throwing tax dollars down the drain in his ongoing - and completely fruitless - campaign to lure tourists to the area; an effort that has thus far generated few jobs and absolutely no measurable uptick in economic vitality.
$2.56 Million Going to D-B ProjectAnother tourist attraction. It'll go well with all the others that Boucher has funded that sit idle here in Southwest Virginia. So how many Scott Countians can expect to benefit from this new expo center? Nobody knows of course, but 3 is a good guess. If a McDonald's goes in next door then we can boost that number considerably. In addition to convincing the citizenry that tourists will - someday soon - come flocking down here to gawk at what are promoted to be our bib overalls-clad men and perenially pregnant women, he's also been able to convince them that flipping all-beef patties leads one down the road to success.
Lisa Watson McCarty, Publisher Scott County Virginia Star
The long-anticipated Daniel Boone Visitors’ and Exposition Center earned a big boost Tuesday as Ninth District Congressman Rick Boucher announced receipt of some federal dollars to jumpstart the project.
“Congress at my request has appropriated $2.56 million in federal funding for the development of the Daniel Boone Visitors’ and Expo Center in Scott County,” the congressman explained. “These federal funds will finance the early work on the project, including among other activities site selection, acquisition of the property and detailed planning including engineering and design work. With these funds in hand, we can be assured that the project will proceed to become a reality.” (link)
Of course Boucher and the recipients of his - our - largesse are effusive in their extolling of the virtues of this latest tourist boondoggle.
Bob McConnell of the Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail Association said the vision of the association has been transformed into tremendous opportunity for the region, thanks to the efforts of Congressman Rick Boucher.Alchemy had its "true believers" too, as I recall. Alchemists thought they could turn rocks into gold. Sound familiar?
“I truly believe this is the economic stimulus that will be driving the ongoing growth of tourism and economic development in Scott County,” McConnell added.
Dr. David Redwine, chairman of the Scott County Board of Supervisors, provides us with a hint of the wishful thinking behind this indulgence in irreality.
“Today marks the start of reality."Really?
In the meantime, UVA-Wise provides us with a real reality:
Rick: SOLVE THE PROBLEM. A FRIEND.
The population of Scott County is less prosperous than the population of Virginia. Scott County's poverty rate is 75% higher than the Virginia poverty rate and the per capita income of Scott Countians is only 63% of the per capita income of Virginians. Relatively fewer people are enrolled in the labor force in Scott County than in Virginia and far fewer people in Scott County have completed high school than in Virginia as a whole. The relative poverty and poor health status of the population indicates a need for increased and sustained access to primary care in Scott County. (link)