Life In D.C.

Tyler Cowen labels this blog post scary and asserts that “Every paragraph in the article is terrifying.” It’s essentially a story about the culture of D.C. and its environs. Here’s a sample:

Yet the diversity of the Washington economy is an illusion, for each of its business sectors is to some degree a creature of the region’s single great industry—the federal government. According to a 2007 report by the Tax Foundation, for every dollar in taxes Washington sends to the federal government, it receives five in return. Fuller says that over the past 30 years, the federal government has spent $860 billion in the D.C. region, two-thirds of that since 9/11.

Why the boom? The size of the nonmilitary, nonpostal federal workforce has stayed relatively stable since the 1960s. What has changed is not the government payroll but the number of government contractors. It’s estimated that, thanks to massive outsourcing over the past 20 years by the Clinton and Bush administrations, there are two government contractors for every worker directly employed by the government. Federal contracting is the region’s great growth industry. A government contractor can even hire contractors for help in getting more government contracts. You could call those guys ­government-contract contractors.

The author appears to be anonymous and I’m not familiar with the blog, but that means little. It certainly paints a dismal picture of a company town living high on the backs of many and blissfully unaware of the realities of contemporary life in the US. It is “terrifying” when you consider the power that has devolved to its denizens.

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