Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Inside the Belly of the Beast

Radley Balko notes:

After the 2000 Census, the richest county in America was Douglas County, Colorado. By 2007, Douglas County had fallen to sixth. The new top three are now Loudon County, Virginia; Fairfax County, Virginia; and Howard County, Maryland. All three are suburbs or exurbs of Washington, D.C. In 2000, 14 of the 100 richest counties were in the Washington, D.C., area. In 2007, it was nine of the richest 20.

Interesting, eh? But certainly not a surprise:

The problem is that, save for the tech corridor in D.C.'s Virginia exurbs, the Washington Metro area doesn't actually produce anything. Washington doesn't create wealth, it just moves it around — redistributes it. As government grows and takes control of more and more of the private economy — either through spending, regulation, or taxes — more and more wealth that's created elsewhere comes to Washington to be devoured.

The Washington wealth boom is the result of the massive expansion in government over the last 10 years, which has populated the region with an increase in well-paid federal employees, and wealthy federal contractors and lobbyists.

Whole article here. I am willing to wager my house on the thesis that the "wealth" accumulations in and around the D.C. region will increase exponentially during Obama's tenure. To be sure, when you start talking about throwing 1 trillion dollars (or more) around, the vultures are certain to gather. All of this powerfully underscores the reason that the founding fathers insisted that the centers of political power be geographically separated and removed from the centers of commerce (i.e., D.C. was built in an uninhabited swamp far from Boston, Philadelphia and Charleston for a reason). I suppose they should have realized that snakes dig the swamp.