by Michael Snyder, The Economic Collapse Blog: If you have ever wondered why our leaders in Washington D.C. seem to act so strangely, the truth is that it almost always comes down to just one thing. It has been said that “money makes the world go round”, and that is definitely true in Washington. This year the federal government will spend more than 4 trillion dollars, and that represents well over one-fifth of our national GDP. With so much money coming in and so much money going out, the stakes are incredibly high, and that is why so much money is poured into political campaigns on the national level.
And it shouldn’t surprise anyone that those that live the closest to this gigantic money machine have benefited greatly. Forbes just released their brand new rankings for 2017, and they found that five out of the top 10 wealthiest counties in the entire country are suburbs of Washington D.C.…
Virginia’s Loudoun County holds the title of the nation’s richest county with a median household income of $125,900. While nearly 10,000 residents commute to the District, according to Forbes, about 11,700 businesses employ 161,000 county residents, with Dulles International Airport, Loudoun County Public Schools and the Department of Homeland Security leading that charge.
The nearby city of Falls Church, Fairfax and Arlington counties in Virginia and Howard County in Maryland also lead the nation based on wealth.
In general, salaries for federal workers are significantly higher than in the private sector, and benefit packages are usually much better.
But in addition to having a very high concentration of federal workers, the D.C. area is also home to hordes of lawyers, lobbyists, defense contractors and other government vendors. Big government means big business for those guys, and business has been very good in recent years…
The federal government has a lot to do with this: The Capitol and the economy orbiting around it (including lawyers, defense contractors, computer engineers along the Dulles Corridor, and doctors near NIH) attract college graduates who reliably contribute to six-figure households. Crucially, there was a $1.7 billion increase in lobbying between 1998 and 2010, as Dylan Matthews explained. With each $1 million of lobbying “associated with a $3.70 increase in the D.C. wage premium,” the money pouring into Washington wound up in the pockets of its residents.
This certainly isn’t the limited government that our founders intended.
So where did we go wrong?