In honor of Senator Byrd's passing, it's worth considering a recent article, about studies which suggest that porkbarrel spending retards economic growth:
A trio of academics at the Harvard Business School, Lauren Cohen, Joshua Coval, and Christopher Malloys, based a recent research project on exactly that assumption. They looked at the impact of powerful politicians (heads of spending committees, etc) on local economies, fully expecting that impact to be positive. But the result of their efforts astonished the researchers, as it astonishes me.
The academics discovered, in effect, that federal spending causes local businesses to shrink. The more access a state has to the federal pump in Washington, DC, the more private companies wither on the vine.
Was his career a net plus for West Virginia?