CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- WEST Virginians have become so accustomed to the state trying to treat the symptoms of poverty that they forget there is a cure - economic growth.
Thus, the effects of a thriving private sector come as something of a revelation.
The McLure Hotel in Wheeling was built in 1852, and although much of the original building yielded to new construction three decades ago, the hotel endured - even as the steel, coal and glass industries rose and fell.
Now the shale gas boom is reinvigorating the place once again.
General Manager Cynthia Johnson told Casey Junkins of The Wheeling Intelligencer that the hotel's lounge, Harrigan's Pub, reopened several months ago.
Now chef Dan O'Connell has opened Odessa's Breakfast and Catering shop inside the hotel.
Johnson said most of the increase in business is traceable to the oil and gas industry. Workers need places to stay, and places to eat where they stay.
She called the resulting freshet of economic activity "amazing."
Economic growth is like that.
If state officials would adopt policies that encouraged investment, they could spend less time wringing their hands over the effects of poverty.
REMEMBER all the drama about how the Federal Aviation Administration was so crimped by a 4 percent budget cut that it had to furlough air traffic controllers and inconvenience the traveling public?
Frequent fliers were right to be skeptical.
The Wall Street Journal reports that in September 2012, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told agencies not to award bonuses - in particular nice little bumps called "Organizational Success Increases" and "Superior Contribution Increases."
But on Jan. 14, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta notified agency workers that those who qualified for OSIs would get 1 percent salary increases and those who merited SCIs would get 0.6 percent to 1.8 percent boosts.
The raises appeared on February paychecks, two months before the agency said it had no choice but to furlough air traffic controllers.