Washington Post: The Embedded Tick On The Potomac Keeps Swelling

Here is an animated map from the Crony Chronicles blog showing how the median household incomes in the counties around Washington DC have risen over the last 42 years. It is like watching a giant tick on the nation swell with blood.

The Washington Post reports today:

So much money to be had if you know where to look.

The avalanche of cash that made Washington rich in the last decade has transformed the culture of a once staid capital and created a new wave of well-heeled insiders.

The winners in the new Washington are not just the former senators, party consiglieri and four-star generals who have always profited from their connections. Now they are also the former bureaucrats, accountants and staff officers for whom unimagined riches are suddenly possible. They are the entrepreneurs attracted to the capital by its aura of prosperity and its super-educated workforce. They are the lawyers, lobbyists and executives who work for companies that barely had a presence in Washington before the boom.

During the past decade, the region added 21,000 households in the nation’s top 1 percent. No other metro area came close.

Did you get that. Wall Street isn’t the central location of “the one percent”; it is Washington DC. “Occupy Wall Street” should have occupied the capitol!

So why do politicians have any credibility speaking against “the income gap” or claiming to care about main street. Back in 2008, John McCain spoke of “fat cats” on Wall Street. Wrong address.

Two forces triggered the boom.

The share of money the government spent on weapons and other hardware shrank as service contracts nearly tripled in value. At the peak in 2010, companies based in Rep. James P. Moran’s congressional district in Northern Virginia reaped $43 billion in federal contracts — roughly as much as the state of Texas.

At the same time, big companies realized that a few million spent shaping legislation could produce windfall profits. They nearly doubled the cash they poured into the capital.

The signs of the new Washington are everywhere — from the Tiffany & Co. store that Fairfax County development officials boast is the most profitable in the country to the new Tesla dealership in Tysons Corner. Every morning on the Beltway, contractors, lobbyists and some of the country’s highest-paid lawyers sit in the nation’s worst traffic. Sports talk radio crackles with rants about the Redskins and the latest ads from Deltek, a firm that advises companies on “capture strategies” for winning government contracts. The radio signal doesn’t extend much beyond the Washington commute. It doesn’t have to. The ad barely makes sense to most Washingtonians, let alone those living outside the capital.

Yet these people are telling us that our economy can only recover if we increase our debt and spend more. Why should we trust them? They are obviously siphoning cents out of every dollar that runs through the capitol. They have every reason to pretend to care about the middle class and offer protection from the millionaires so that they become the only millionaires.

Read the whole article and then ask yourself why the government “shutdown” and the debt ceiling caused so much outrage from our leaders. No wonder moneyed Republicans hate the Tea Party.