Big Republican Government

West Virginia’s New GOP Governor Wants a Big Government Bailout

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice, a man who recently decided to become a Republican two years after becoming a Democrat, is calling for a massive government bailout of the coal industry totaling $4.5 billion per year.

But Jim Justice isn't calling for a bail out of the entire coal industry, just the industry in his own back yard which represents a minority of the industry. This is pure grift.

The money in Justice's proposal would be used exclusively to prop up the northern and central Appalachian coal production regions, which include parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia and far Western Maryland. Together those regions account for less than 25 percent of total domestic coal production, according to the Energy Information Administration. The remaining 75 percent of the domestic coal industry would receive no bailout.

The way he sees it, magic asterisks will pay for it in the long term.

“In the scope of things, that would be a drop in the bucket to protect ourselves,” Mr. Justice said. “And looking at the other side, you would put thousands and thousands and thousands of people to work, and the net-net of that is that the $4.5 billion would get eroded tremendously, so that it may end up costing almost nothing.”

Free Market Jesus tells us industries that become obsolete deserve to die. Are you telling me Republicans don't actually believe in the Infallible Free Market? Jim Justice is asking the government to directly subsidize an obsolete industry.

There are undoubtedly people in the region who need help, but they're going to have to vote for it. If they want help, they're going to have to vote for politicians who are going to actually help them, not Republicans who are just going to screw them harder.

If Republicans had their way right now, Medicaid and other social assistance programs that prop up Appalachian communities would be devastated. If Republicans managed to cut hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicaid and trillions more from other government programs, West Virginia would quickly become an unlivable hellscape.

Obamacare has already shown us there are limits to how much you can help people who don't want to be helped. States in which the law has been most effective are states that fully embraced it and expanded Medicaid.

Jim Justice himself is a coal industry baron valued at nearly $1.7 billion.

  • mnpollio

    Well I have a long-time friend born in West Virginia and residing in West Virginia, and she affirms that it currently IS a hell-scape, and that the blame for this largely rests on the average West Virginia voter, who would vote Satan into office so long as he affirmed that he hated Obama/Clinton and shared the same rampant prejudices. In short, the definition of the typical Trump voter voting against their own self interest.

  • ninjaf

    I will point out that West Virginians did vote for the guy from the party who had promised to help working class people (Democrats). He is the one who switched party affiliation after taking office. I don’t know who his opponent was but good lord, he/she must’ve been horrible.

  • Draxiar

    Y’know, those horse carriage makers are having a bugger of a time keeping their industry alive too. As a nation let’s try to prop those workers up because they’ve had it hard these last couple of years.

  • Ceoltoir

    The republicans are only for the free market until it interferes with the business model of their donors. They are trying to prop up the fossil fuel industry while at the State level tax wind and solar out of existence.

  • muselet


    The plan calls for the Department of Homeland Security to send $15 to eastern U.S. utilities for every ton of Appalachia coal they burn.


    At the heart of his pitch, Justice argues that the country is becoming too reliant on natural gas for power and it’s not enough to supplement that with coal from the Midwest and West.

    Justice rejects the notion that his plan amounts to a “bailout” or “subsidy” for Appalachian coal. Rather, it’s a matter of national security, he said, because terrorists could easily blow up important gas pipelines or derail freight trains shipping coal to the east, leaving large swaths of the country lacking power-plant fuel.

    “A matter of national security.” And I am the king of all Londinium and wear a shiny hat.

    Shameless bastard.


  • I’m pretty sure with such high unemployment and the opiod crisis WV is already a hell scape. I’m having trouble scraping together some sympathy since they keep voting for the same fuckers who keep making them bend over and grab their ankles.

  • Aynwrong

    I keep remembering a column by Nicholas D Kristof about how judging Trump voters is unfair and mean. He wrote about one particular Trump voter in Oklahoma (I might be wrong about the state) whose employment could be jeopardized because Trump didn’t support the gov’t program that was keeping her employed. She was concerned about that but still supported Trump because “He’s going after them illegals.”

    Trump hurting other people was more important to her than her own needs. That’s how deep this hatred runs. My sympathy however ran out quite awhile ago.

    • Christopher Foxx

      Trump hurting other people was more important to her than her own needs.

      That’s it in a nutshell. And that nutshell is all there is.

      Their sole motivation is hurting other people. They don’t care that they are dooming themselves. They don’t care that they could have much better lives and opportunities. They don’t care that they’re dooming their kids. They don’t care that they are destroying the America they claim they love.

      All of that, ALL of it, takes a distant back seat to being able to hurt other people. As long as they get to do that, they don’t care what else goes down in flames.

      Fuck ’em. I say let them get exactly what they’re asking for. It’s heartless and cruel but I’m tired of trying to help people who are actively and unrelentingly trying to kill me.

      • A-effing-men. It ain’t economic anxiety. Their motivation is pure spite.

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