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Unread 05-25-2011, 09:29 AM
 
785 posts, read 775,067 times
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Default Someone is Glad to Leave Washington, DC

An economist blogger is leaving our fair Nation's Capital for greener pastures elsewhere.

PrudentBear

The article is long so I will summarize Mr. Hutchinson's article with certain points.

1. The DC real estate market recovered far better than other cities hit by the real estate bubble collapse. Why? Government expansion through deficit spending policies. Creates jobs in the public and private sectors at the expense of the US taxpayer.

2. At one time, DC had modest-sized homes built in the 1940 and 1950s for federal government bureaucrats and other middle-class families. The explosion of the McMansion building from the 1980s was due to the rising incomes from corporate attorneys and lobbyists. Real estate prices take off. I would add that the price increases hit the suburbs (Fairfax and Montgomery Counties) in the 1980s and 1990s and then we saw the skyrocketing of DC home prices in the 2000s.

3. The Washington, DC region has the highest number of educated professionals in the country. But Hutchinson believes that the per capita income of DC's most educated PhDs and Master's degree professionals are way of line with their colleagues in other affluent regions of the country. In other words, the well educated of DC are getting paid too much.

4. The residents of the DC region lack charm, physical attractiveness and good salesmanship. For the record, I think the author is making a silly argument here. I guess he is trying to explain that the well educated, well-compensated residents of Washington, DC are not nice people.

5. The professionals working in DC have isolated themselves from the economic suffering and instability that has hit other major metropolitan markets. Again, the federal government provides a cocoon effect for the region.

6. There is too much inequality here. The middle-class is shrinking in the District and the surrounding suburbs while there is more housing available for the high-income professionals and more minimum wage jobs for undocumented Latino workers. Local government regulations hinder growth of small, independent-owned businesses. Small business development is essential for middle-class growth.

7. Most other cities have wealthy or bourgeois people because they are successful with a certain business. A business that derives sales from customers...not from the taxpayer. In Washington, most of the upper-class have earned their wealth at the expense of federal government spending or favorable policies for a particular industry.

Except for the point about the lack of charm or attractiveness of DC residents, I agree with the blog post.
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Unread 05-25-2011, 10:14 AM
 
Location: Columbia Heights, Washington, D.C.
337 posts, read 353,870 times
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Actually a lot of DC residents have no charm whatsoever and that'll only increase as the city gets more transient.
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Unread 05-25-2011, 10:21 AM
 
Location: Fort Worth, TX
9,399 posts, read 6,640,872 times
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Yeah, definitely spot-on with the first and seventh points. I like living here, and I'll be the first to admit that my goal of working for a defense contractor or consulting company doesn't quite line up with my political views, but this region really is just propped up by government spending. A majority of workers don't work for the federal government, but their employers have fat contracts with it.

No. 2 seems to apply to a lot of places, not just DC. You'll find McMansions (perhaps not the same size, but relatively speaking) in any major metropolitan area. And I kinda prefer the McMansions over the cookie-cutter suburbs.

No. 3 is probably correct. Might have to do with the cost of living; how much are PhD and Masters holders in NY or LA or SF paid?

No. 4 is silly. I definitely get where he's coming from but I've met plenty of friendly people, and it's a rare day that I can walk down the street or ride the Metro without practically turning my head 180 degrees to check out an attractive lady.

No. 5 is correct, DC was not hit very hard by the recession compared to other areas because the government greatly increased its spending.

No. 6, not so sure. Which regulations make it hard? Not that I disagree that more regulation tends to mean less business. Need someone slightly closer to the center in charge if you ask me!
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Unread 05-25-2011, 10:58 AM
 
Location: DC
2,306 posts, read 1,663,146 times
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U h8 dc
i-95
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Unread 05-25-2011, 11:43 AM
 
273 posts, read 400,926 times
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At the end of that article, the author notes,

Quote:
My new abode, New York’s Dutchess County, is only half as rich as Fairfax County, with commensurately lower house prices (yippee!) and only half the proportion of university graduates. While it has a couple of large businesses and several colleges, most of its richest inhabitants are successful used car dealers and realtors, whose depredations extend only to their customers. I look forward eagerly to its modest amenities.
If his choice is to live among uneducated people and car dealers, he's more than welcome.

My choice is to live among the intelligentsia. I have nothing in common with car dealers and realtors, and never did.

BTW, since when is it a point of pride to boast about "only half the proportion of graduates"? Are you proud of the fact that half the population are ignorant dumbasses? Only in the US can education be a liability LOL. Thank God DC is an oasis.

"Modest amenities"? LOL. Enjoy being nickel-and-dimed in your Smallville, NY.
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Unread 05-25-2011, 12:09 PM
 
Location: Rockville, MD
3,548 posts, read 4,464,013 times
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Hey, whatevs. DC isn't for everyone. I hope he finds happiness in his new home.
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Unread 05-25-2011, 12:12 PM
 
342 posts, read 342,178 times
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7. Most other cities have wealthy or bourgeois people because they are successful with a certain business. A business that derives sales from customers...not from the taxpayer. In Washington, most of the upper-class have earned their wealth at the expense of federal government spending or favorable policies for a particular industry.

I don't see this as a differentiator here... the "government" is a customer in the same way that any other business or consumer is a customer. The same hustle, drive, opportunism, business principles and competitiveness are required to do business with the government as with anybody else-- plus you have all of the added red tape and politics in mix to deal with. What I appreciate about DC's upper middle class "wealth", is that's it's not overly glitzy and materialistic like LA, NY, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston.
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Unread 05-25-2011, 12:52 PM
 
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Coldbliss - At some point you need to accept that DC is a government city, with all the pros and cons that come with it. Getting indignant that it does what it was designed to do (run a nation, not auto dealerships) is silly.

Move away if you don't like to be around educated people who engage with the world's problems rather than start businesses. I love entrepreneurial energy as well, but that's not DC and it's no reason to hate-on this place for it. Might as well complain about Albany not being like NYC.
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Unread 05-25-2011, 01:06 PM
 
785 posts, read 775,067 times
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I disagree, RozCat about the customer thing. Going after one customer (i.e. a federal government agency) is helluva lot easier than going after hundreds of business customers or millions of individual consumers. There is greater competition for business and individual customers in the market place than a handful (or maybe two) firms going after a government contract. The cost pressures in the private market are intense and this is one reason why inflation remains dormant in many product sectors. I cannot say the same for federal government agencies doling out more expensive contracts like it was candy to kids.

Don't forget that many contracts are awarded with a no-bid status. Some Beltway contractors have inside ties with agencies because the executives were former high-ranking employees with that federal agency. It helps to have powerful allies in Congress to steer federal funding your way too. The methods of business in Washington, DC is different from Acme Corporation trying to get new customers in Kansas.

In addition, let me point out something. I don't think individuals should rake in a generous income because they landed a lucrative government contract. I don't think lobbyists should be getting $50,000 bonus checks for persuading committee members in Congress to vote with their clients interest.

Doing work for the federal government should not be a get-rich endeavor. I will re-phrase this; working for the feds does not entitle you to a Mercedes, a beach house or a one-week stay in a posh, $2,000/night Mediterranean resort. It is public service and you should be sacrificing personal wealth for the greater good of society.

The US government is running huge multi-billion dollar budget deficits and I have no doubt that spending on government payroll and private contractors are contributing to the public debt problem. There are too many workers making too much income for federal tax dollars to keep up with the budget expenses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RozCat View Post
I don't see this as a differentiator here... the "government" is a customer in the same way that any other business or consumer is a customer. The same hustle, drive, opportunism, business principles and competitiveness are required to do business with the government as with anybody else-- plus you have all of the added red tape and politics in mix to deal with. What I appreciate about DC's upper middle class "wealth", is that's it's not overly glitzy and materialistic like LA, NY, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston.
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Unread 05-25-2011, 01:17 PM
 
Location: Springfield VA
4,033 posts, read 4,565,754 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coldbliss View Post

Doing work for the federal government should not be a get-rich endeavor. I will re-phrase this; working for the feds does not entitle you to a Mercedes, a beach house or a one-week stay in a posh, $2,000/night Mediterranean resort. It is public service and you should be sacrificing personal wealth for the greater good of society.
I hear you and believe you but as a contractor I'm not going to do much to argue with things especially when it comes to defense. Personally I've got bills to pay so can't afford to "sacrifice personal wealth for the greater good of society". Just like teachers, police officers, firefighters etc. most contractors and government workers are trying to keep food on the table in one of the most expensive parts of the country. Yeah there are a few greedy fat cats but that's hardly the majority. You have to be careful with blanket statements.
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