Public, Private: Mixing Bowl
Item (1): Saturday's Times-Dispatch reported that Northrop Grumman plans to cut 380 salaried jobs at its shipyard in Newport News. The reductions are occurring in part because the corporation is nearing the completion of "major milestones in existing contracts." The yard employs about 20,000 workers; it makes ships for the Navy.
Item (2): Last week shares in Cisco tumbled after the computer company reported a decline in government contracts. The Washington Post reported that Cisco "gets about 22 percent of its business from the public sector." The news has implications for other companies that profit from government spending.
The two items tell a larger story. Northrop Grumman and Cisco belong to the private sector. The politicians, economists, scriveners, and others who credit private businesses with creating jobs presumably include the two firms. Yet as the stories cited above suggest, the private sector reaps significant gains from public spending. Indeed, Northrop Grumman and Cisco are but two examples. When jurisdictions such as those in Central Virginia build schools, libraries, and other public buildings, private contractors do much of the work. Recent weeks have seen news about state incentives for companies opening or enhancing operations in Virginia. Public money seeds private jobs.
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