Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Factoid About A City On Steroids (Supplied By You)

It is rare that a single factoid can effectively convey so much.  I came across just such a fact last week.

It was on page 5 in a table in USA Today on Average income per person, by state.  The table showed each state in order of its average income per person in 2010 and also the percent change from 2000-2010.  The Newsline teaser on the front page stated that Connecticut residents averaged the highest income per person; Mississippi was at the bottom.  I glanced at the table on page 5 and confirmed that Connecticut was on top with average income of $56,001 per person.  Mississippi was dead last at $31,186 per person.  I was just about to move on to another headline when I glanced at the entry right below Mississippi....
                                                                 Income per person         Pct Increase(2000-2010)
District of Columbia                $71,044                 +75%

I know, it's not a state.  However, the average income in the nation's capitol is over $15,000 higher than the highest state!  It is also almost $31,000 higher than the national average of $40,584.  The increase of 75% in average income per person between 2000-2010 was also much higher than any of the states. It was also over twice the national average of 34%.

Take a minute and consider this.  Washington, DC has no manufacturing base.  It does not grow crops.  It has no oil wells or coal mines.  It does not produce computer chips or other high tech items. It produces nothing that creates value in a traditional economy.  Yet, its residents have the highest per capita income in the country!  What more is needed to know that something is seriously amiss in our country.

I am not suggesting that this income is all derived by government workers in the District.  There are plenty of lawyers, lobbyists and lunch places along with everything else.  However, almost all of those jobs would not exist without the massive amount of money that gets shipped to D.C. by the people who are working the factory jobs, tending the crops and mining the coal.  People who work hard every day for a fraction of what the people in Washington, DC are making.  However, they must pay taxes on that fraction and send it to Washington to support incomes that are almost double what people in my home state of Ohio are earning ($36,395).

Those taxes are spent to support a government that then legislates, regulates and stipulates almost everything that we do.  Picking winners and losers. Redistributing money from one person to another.  Functions far removed from the principles of our founding fathers.  In fact, as I pointed out in my post "The United States of Redistribution" , 2/3 of the total activity of the federal government today is to take money from one person and give it to someone else.  In 1945, payments to individuals as a share of total federal spending was  a mere 2.4% of the total budget.  As late as 1970, transfer payments as they are called, were less than 30% of all federal spending.

The Constitution refers to common defense and general welfare, not special interests.  It does not seek to confer individual rights but to protect those unalienable individual rights from the power of government. The single factoid above shows all too clearly how far we have diverged from our founding principles.    You don't need a massive government structure to protect, defend and provide for the general welfare.  You do need one to manage, control and serve special interests.  That is how District of Columbia residents have come to make almost twice the income as the nation as a whole. It is also the reason why one piece of data can convey so well why Washington must change.

It is time our elected representatives in Washington started thinking of the public interest rather than special interests.  Personal sacrifice rather than personal entitlements.  Fiscal discipline rather than fiscal delinquency. Where is the leadership to make it happen?

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