Tuesday, March 20, 2012

...when ambitious people once again flock to places where money is made...

Check out this article from Forbes, the latest in a series of observations/analyses of the increasing consolidation of this nation's wealth in and around the seat of Federal government. A taste:
Throughout the brutal and agonizingly long recession, only one large metropolitan area escaped largely unscathed: Washington, D.C. The city that wreaked economic disasters under two administrations last year grew faster in populationthan any major region in the country, up a remarkable 2.7 percent. The continued steady growth of the Texas cities, which dominated the growth charts over the past decade, pales by comparison.
Boom times in the capital — particularly amid a weak recovery elsewhere — are driving this growth. Since 2007, notes Stephen Fuller at George Mason University, the D.C. region’s economy has expanded 14 percent compared with a mere 3 percent for the rest of the country. Washington’s unemployment never scaled over 7 percent, well below the national average, and is now down to around 5.5 percent, about the lowest of any major metropolitan area. Unemployment of course is much higher, reaching 25 percent, in some of the district’s poorer neighborhoods.
This prosperity is rooted largely in the steady growth of the federal workforce, as federal spending accounts for one-third of the region’s economy. Over the past decade 50,000 bureaucratic jobs have been added in the area while local federal spending grew 166 percent. The D.C. region, with 5 percent of the nation’s population, garners more than three times that percentage in payroll and more than four times that percentage in procurement dollars.
 Although nobody should begrudge the good folk of Washington, DC their prosperity, the skewed comparison with the rest of the country does bring to mind this clip from The Wire (the best, best, absolute best television show ever aired, by the way). With apologies for the small amount of dock language...

The Forbes piece also calls to mind this blurb from the "The Week" section of the March 19 issue of National Review:
America will start getting back on its feet when ambitious people once again flock to places where money is made — not where it is collected (or borrowed), shuffled around, wrangled over, and disbursed.
Hard to argue with that.

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