One of my liberal friends, an old Washington hand whose roots in the swamp are deep, is always exulting about the profusion of new restaurants, high-end condos, and of fancy, new retail outlets, evidences of affluence in this extremely pleasant city.
Of course the reason for all this urban luxury is that the government is too big. The restaurants, shops, and luxurious dwellings are patronized by people who come to D.C. to influence the government (whose employees don't live half badly either). The other reason D.C. is such a rich town is that the rest of the country sends tribute (otherwise known as taxes) here every April.
Thus Washington, D.C. is the only city in America where conservatives don't want to see job growth–and the good news is that job growth in D.C. is in decline. The New York Post reports:
Recent employment numbers in metro Washington, DC, look like good news for Main Street America: Job growth in the nation’s capital has slowed.
The metro area added less than 50,000 jobs over the entire past year — compared to 60,000 every month in 2016, the last year under President Barack Obama.
Yes, many federal employees do good work, and not all the lobbyists, consultants and other “Beltway Bandits” who fill out the DC labor force are a bane on the nation.
But far too many are takers and fakers who get in the way of the makers.
Cancerous growth of the federal government comes at the expense of the rest of America. A truly booming Washington typically means unwise new burdens on the private sector and a host of other government actions that favor the well-connected at the expense of everyone who doesn’t spend time and money working the system.
So it’s no accident that DC’s unemployment rate recently rose to 3.8 percent while the nationwide rate hit a 17-year low of 4.1 percent as the US economy grew by 313,000 new jobs in February alone.
There are a number of explanations advanced the slight downtick in employment in Washington. One is the brief shutdown caused doldrums and people are hesitant to start new businesses. Another is the Senate's dragging its feet in confirming Trump nominees.
But here, according to the New York Post, is the bottom line:
Whatever the cause, Washington’s slowdown combines with Trump’s regulatory rollback and tax cuts to make the outlook for America much rosier.
Washington will never be a sleepy city again, but if government were smaller, the capital would reflect this.