It has come to the belated attention of some mainstream observers (here, and here) that our Imperial Capital Washington, D.C., is doing a lot better than the rest of the country. For example, on October 25, 2012, the Washington Post cited a study by Alexandria-based Delta Associates which "offers the latest evidence that Washington’s real estate market, which weathered the housing bust better than nearly any other major metro area, continues to outpace much of the country... The average house price is $430,817 — with prices higher in the District and close-in suburbs, and lower in outlying areas such as Loudoun and Frederick counties."
Evidence of this sort could be enumerated ad nauseam.
The District of Columbia does of course have a substantial poor, black population which I shall ignore because they are invisible.
One mainstream observer (Glenn Reynolds) has even correctly discerned the reason why the Imperial Capital is resplendent while many of those living in the Hinterlands don't have two nickels to rub together.
Washington is rich not because it makes valuable things, but because it is powerful.
Writing in the New York Times, Ross Douthat zeros in on where the wealth which accrues to the powerful, their servants, various toadies and a swarm of bloodsucking leeches comes from.
Whence comes this wealth? Mostly from Washington’s one major industry: the federal government. Not from direct federal employment, which has risen only modestly of late, but from the growing armies of lobbyists and lawyers, contractors and consultants, who make their living advising and influencing and facilitating the public sector’s work.
It has always been so—where the power is, the money flows. Humans like power. Humans like money. They are attracted to both, like moths to a flame. Power and money are like honey to the bee. You might look at my post Because That's Where The Money Is (December 5, 2010).
Douthat believes that the Imperial Capital "had turned a corner after decades of decline" when he moved there in 2002. Not coincidently, the year 2002 corresponds with beginning of America's War on an Abstract Noun (Terrorism) and the birth of the Department of Homeland Security, although Douthat does not seem to make the this connection. See my post Who Can Take This Country Seriously? (August 1, 2011). For example—
According to the Washington Post, there are 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies working on programs related to counter-terrorism, homeland security and intelligence , and an estimated 854,000 people hold top-secret security clearances [which is nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C.]
Facts like these speak for themselves, but I should point out that the great disparity in living circumstances between those living in (and around) The Land Of Milk And Honey and those living outside it is not merely a consequence of the War on an Abstract Noun. That development only made a bad situation worse.
April 7, 2009, from Jean Marie Ward — You can't make this stuff up. Nobody would believe you... The Department of Homeland Security has decided on the perfect place for its headquarters: St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, the District of Columbia’s historic looney bin, originally known as the Government Hospital for the Insane. Speaking as someone who was in the Pentagon on 9/11 and who has witnessed the crap committed in the name of “national security” since, it just doesn’t get more perfect than that.
It has not gone unnoticed by the ungrateful wretches who live in the vast Terra Incognita outside the Imperial Capital and its environs—they live in so-called "states" with exotic names like "Utah" and "Mississippi"—that those who rule over them have no particular need to acknowledge their existence if an election is not taking place. In fact, those in the "Red" states are talking more and more about seceding, which would be a wonderful idea if it were possible and practical to do so.
Unfortunately, there is no possibility that the relationship between these Two Worlds, the "states" and the Imperial Capital, will change in the foreseeable future—power and money will continue to emanate from and flow toward the latter, and away from the former. This is simply one of the rules we humans live by. In large, complex societies, social and wealth inequality are as natural as water flowing downhill.
On a personal note, I have often mentioned National Public Radio on this blog, invariably in disparaging terms. I have been a lifelong listener, and over the last 10 years, it became impossible for me not to notice that what NPR reported on and the world I lived in were almost entirely different places.
Now I can not listen to NPR without wincing because it is very distressing and painful to do so. I bring it up only because NPR's daily reporting is almost wholly divorced from something we might call Reality for one simple reason—they broadcast from 635 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington D.C., and their entire world view is a faithful reflection of the privileged, corrupt world Inside The Beltway. It really is that simple.
Empires rise and fall, and during their decline phase, which we're well into here in the United States, it comes as no surprise that the Imperial Agenda and the interests of The People diverge. This is always a matter of degree, but as the decline goes on, the divergence becomes greater and greater. This is the historical situation, and don't look for it to change anytime soon.
Bonus Video — Won't Get Fooled Again