Monday, August 4, 2014

Biden: 'Why Would a Business Go' to Delaware?

    Vice President Joe Biden inadvertently may have produced the worst public service announcement for a state since  Maryland's Governor William Donald Schaefer referred to the Eastern Shore of his state as the "[outhouse]" of Maryland. Biden recently recorded a White House White Board video to boost the president's latest plan to spend billions on those ubiquitous "crumbling roads and bridges." To provide an example, Biden turned his sights on his home state, the "little state of Delaware":

[Transcript, 2:50 to 3:29] Take a look at my little state of Delaware.  I'm very proud of Delaware because I know it so well having represented it for so long.  There are 6,357 miles of public roads in the state of Delaware. Sixteen percent of them are in poor condition. How does that little state compete? Why would a business go, why would an enterprise get engaged in a place where there wasn't sufficient rail, or the roads weren't good, where the bridges were in disrepair? Businesses go where they can increase productivity. Productivity relates to how rapidly they can get things to market, how cheaply they can get 'em to market, and how often they can get 'em to market.
    Asked to comment on the vice president's remarks, Kelly M. Bachman, press secretary for Governor Jack Markell responded:
The Vice President has been as great a champion for Delaware as we have and has only helped improve the image of our great state across the country and around the world. We should always want to do better, but we're encouraged that our economy is improving and our job growth is outpacing the nation's. 
I don't speak for the Vice President, but I suspect he did not view his words as disparaging and we do not take them that way.  As a point of comparison, Delaware's 16% of roads in poor condition, although certainly not good, is better than our surrounding states. 
Both the President and Vice President continue to show the necessary sense of urgency to strengthen our transportation system and Governor Markell appreciates their support and advocacy. The condition of infrastructure in parts of the country are in an unacceptable condition and our advantages in the global economy will shrink rapidly if we don't make needed investments. 
Businesses and entrepreneurs have more choices than ever about where to locate, expand and hire - and a safe, reliable transportation infrastructure plays an important role in their decision making process. If we want to successfully compete for jobs in the global economy, we must invest in our people and our infrastructure.
    In spite of the benefit of the doubt the governor's office gave the vice president, it seems a safe bet that after Biden returns to Delaware for good, he won't be looking for work designing welcome signs for his home state.

Note: A version of this post first appeared at The Weekly Standard.

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