Washington, DC…If you believe the constant drum beat from talking heads of all political persuasions we are a deeply divided country. I don’t believe we’re as divided as they would like to have us believe as they make money and gain influence by having us at loggerheads. There are however some discrepancies that are just too large to ignore. One such discrepancy is the household income of Washington DC and its suburbs versus the rest of the US. In some cases our public “servants” average over five times the income of their “masters”.
As an example is the median household income of DC suburb Loudoun County Virginia according to recent Census Bureau data was $151,800 for 2019. Most of its residents either work directly in Government jobs or they work for government contractors, lobbyists and companies who rely on taxpayer money for their income.
Census data now shows that the Washington DC metro has more counties and zip codes in the highest earning brackets than any other metro area including New York, LA and Silicon Valley. We are not denying that hard working, highly educated public servants need to be compensated for their work, of course they do. The question is how much more than those working in the private sector is enough, too much or healthy?
We see it as a potentially destabilizing force though as how can Washington DC effectively govern, have public or civil servants be respected or held in high enough regard to do their jobs when in some cases they make not just a little more but over 5 times more than those on the organization chart they ostensibly serve?
Our billionaire class deserves much of the derision that is heaped upon it. In most cases though their wealth is at least subject to market forces. The wealthy lists from Forbes and Bloomberg can actually be quite fluid and yes, they need to pay much more in taxes.
Washington DC however has proved that Government itself is the most lucrative occupation in the US. Government jobs are largely recession proof, election proof & party proof. They offer great healthcare, retirement benefits and are almost impossible to get fired from.
It does beg the question though…who is really working for whom?
P.S. Our “Master” County is Loudoun County Virginia, The “Servant” County is San Juan County Utah. It is not actually the lowest median household income county. There are several with lower numbers but they have large prisons or correctional facilities in them with large “non income earning resident” blocks that artificially pull their numbers lower.
San Juan County was chosen in that while it does have a larger Native American population than the population as a whole it has voted solidly Republican for many election cycles and its population largely works in the private sector.
Yes, we know living expenses are higher in DC than in Utah. We still however think it is not helpful to have the highest earning region in the country a region where jobs and income are not subject to or even influenced by market forces.
An employee at a private company, even a company they may dislike knows instinctively that they need to produce enough margin in their job to keep the company afloat or themselves employed.
Government is a world where all annual budgets need to get used to be able to receive more. Efficiency is not the goal. Complete utilization of authorized funds is.
All of this data is available from the US Census Bureau.