In Jim Cook's Archive


A recent online article from Forbes listed the wealthiest 24 counties in America. Not surprisingly 12 of the 24 were in Virginia and Maryland clustered around Washington D.C. When almost half of all earnings and profits are delivered to Washington to be passed out to favorite constituencies a lot of it greases the locals. Consulting firms, sub-contractors and others are funded first for so-called equitable outcomes and then for the job to be done.

Furthermore, every big corporation or interest group has to open an office or hire a lawyer or lobbyist to secure specials favors or to keep the government from ruining them. Then you have a growing army of government workers. A federal employee now earns about twice what private sector employees get. Currently there’s a 15% increase in government employees going on while private employers are cutting jobs. Then there are the fat retirement benefits for government workers, many who retire at age 50.

The Heritage Foundation recently reported, “The Washington economy is booming as private firms have been forced to hire legions of lawyers and lobbyists to both protect their firms from Obama’s new agenda and find ways they can turn it into profit. This is why energy companies are spending millions on lobbyists to shape legislation instead of on scientists to find energy. It is why software companies are spending millions on lawyers to get federal government business instead of on engineers to develop new technologies. Back in 1994, columnist Jonathan Rauch explains what happens when Washington becomes a center of profit for the private sector:

“Economic thinkers have recognized for generations that every person has two ways to become wealthier. One is to produce more, the other is to capture more of what others produce. . . Washington looks increasingly like a public works jobs program for lawyers and lobbyists, a profit center for professionals who are in business for themselves.”

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