Thieves den the richest city in America! — Brooklynian

Thieves den the richest city in America!

Analysts at Bloomberg News examined new Census data and found that the area surrounding the nation's capital is now the richest in the nation:

Federal employees whose compensation averages more than $126,000 and the nation's greatest concentration of lawyers helped Washington edge out San Jose as the wealthiest U.S. metropolitan area, government data show.

The U.S. capital has swapped top spots with Silicon Valley, according to recent Census Bureau figures, with the typical household in the Washington metro area earning $84,523 last year. The national median income for 2010 was $50,046.

...

Total compensation for federal workers, including health care and other benefits, last year averaged $126,369, compared with $122,697 in 2009, according to Bloomberg News calculations of Commerce Department data. There were 170,467 federal employees in the District of Columbia as of June.

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/washington-d-c-area-now-richest-nation-191806412.html?bouchon=511,dc

I bet some of you still think government is still too small (bg :p)

Comments

  • Ironically, some of the biggest proponents of smaller government, deregulation and cutting government excesses have contributed significantly to this by way of:

    1) massive funding of expensive lobbyists and consultants

    2) privatization and award of huge contracts to those firms, resulting in windfall bonuses for top crony execs as they over-bill the US government for materials from $200 hammers on up to major defense materials and private defense contractor (i.e. shady outsourced mercenary) services.

    But both parties have contributed to this.

  • Just like every other sector, the government hires employees in a competitive labor market. So, although everyone loves to be upset with the pay of government workers, the sad fact is it would be staffed with less qualified people if the pay was lower.

    Lobbyists and consultants are a favorite issue of mine. People complain about how much money they charge, but they are only able to charge this much because people believe that they can successfully secure government funding and/or policies.

    The one with the most consultants and lobbyists (C&Ls) wins, and the environment has become similar to an arms race. Imagine that I support "Issue A", and you oppose it.

    I hire a C&L. You respond by hiring a more expensive one. I hire an additional team. You have a fundraising or membership drive to hire more for your side. Etc, Etc.

    The end result is often that the consultants and lobbyists get paid nicely and consistently, and that Policy A always remains on the table because it is never passed OR rejected . Or, it is passed but not enforced. Or, it is passed and then repealed.

    Ah, America. The land where the debate over Policy A will support some for their entire lives.

  • P.S. A different article based on the report that Armchair cites points out that although Washington DC may be the wealthiest metro area in the nation, NYC has the most super wealthy individuals per capita.

  • Yeah, but Bloomie's ruining the bell curve here.

  • Also, remember that the age of the federal and most state and local workforces skews older. What this means is that in Whynot's competitive labor market you are also paying a premium for experienced government workers vs. inexperienced. In those agencies that are predominated by baby boomers (of which there are still many), salaries tend to trend higher as everyone has 15 or 20 years of experience versus those places where you have younger, lower paid employees working their way up the ladder.

  • ...once one gets a good government job with secure hours and benefits, one rarely leaves.

  • experience government worker still be lazy and incompetent half the time :p.

  • as opposed to the hard workers running my health insurance company or airline companies or a million other industries.

    how people differentiate between govt employees and private employees is completely beyond me.

  • difference is you you are force to use that government service. on the other hand you can go to a competing business and eventually that business will go out of business. workers in the private sector has to report to their customers.

  • you're speaking to an idealized version of free markets that don't exist.

    how many of us can afford to go off employee provided health care to price shop?

    or what about when you want to fly to a city that's only serviced by like 2 airlines?

    or what about if you want a different cable company?

  • The hope is that another competitor will enter those markets and improve services. I think we all agree that the hope is often not fulfilled.

    I think AW believes that new competitors are even less likely to challenge a inefficient government producer, because they have no incentive to cut costs or improve service.

    Thankfully, UPS and FedEx are examples to the contrary; both are presently kicking USPS's sorry ass.

  • I think that in those cases where the private sector has been able to eat the public sector's lunch, it has been a case of the private sector actually delivering a better, albeit higher cost product.

    FedEx and UPS are good examples of this. They have never tried to compete with the USPS on price, but instead have held themselves out as more dependable and reliable. Once customers recognized that for the extra six, seven, ten or twenty dollars you could rest assured that your package would absolutely be delivered when and where it was promised, the value of the reliability became more important than the cost.

    Unfortunately, I can't think of many areas where this kind of head to head competition would work at the municipal or state level, so in that respect I agree with AW. Transportation? No. Waste Management? No. Police or Fire Services? No. Tax collection? No (who really wants more efficent tax collectors).

    I would disagree with AW in one respect though and that is that government workers are inherently lazy or incompetent. My experience has been that government is inherently inefficient and offers no incentive to employees to make work more efficient. Therefore, workers tend to engage in status quo operations even when they don't make much sense.

  • whynot_31 said:

    Thankfully, UPS and FedEx are examples to the contrary; both are presently kicking USPS's sorry ass.

    If UPS and FedEx had to play by the unprecedented restrictions put upon USPS Republicans, they'd be a bunch of "sorry assess" too. But they're not the subject of attempts by Republicans to put them out of business, now are they?

    It's easier to ignore facts and pretend that there's some kind of free market force at work between UPS and USPS, but there's not. It's a completely manufactured crisis b/c Republicans are hell bent on destroying every single government program that they can.

    BTW, in 2006 the USPS carried its highest volume of mail in history.

    homeowner said:

    My experience has been that government is inherently inefficient and offers no incentive to employees to make work more efficient. Therefore, workers tend to engage in status quo operations even when they don't make much sense.

    Again, given your typical experience at a Kinko's, or with a cable company, or calling your health care company, or even your doctor, or even a deli that does too much business to have to treat its customers well, I don't know how you guys can possibly see a difference between public employees and private ones.

    I could list you 1,000 miserable, inefficient, experiences I've had with employees at private businesses.

    And yet I had to register a new car at DMV last week and was in and out of there in less than an hour.

  • BG-

    Isn't it the profitability of the pieces of mail that they carry, not the volume of it? Isn't there a big battle right now by both the Democrats and Republicans about whether they should be able to close all of those money losing post offices? ...it may be time for the government to significantly scale back mail delivery and post offices, it is no longer a service that the government must perform in order to exist.

    Homeowner-

    I would disagree with AW in one respect though and that is that government workers are inherently lazy or incompetent. My experience has been that government is inherently inefficient and offers no incentive to employees to make work more efficient. Therefore, workers tend to engage in status quo operations even when they don't make much sense.

    Sometimes government workers are forced to improve their products and services when budget cuts loom.

    But, yes, the civil servant system and union contracts make it almost impossible to re-organize and department and improve procedures.

    Those who come into government believing that they can make change often quickly leave; Those who come looking for mediocre paychecks and pretty good benefits stay.

    so sad.

  • whynot_31 said:

    BG-

    Isn't it the profitability of the pieces of mail that they carry, not the volume of it? Isn't there a big battle right now by both the Democrats and Republicans about whether they should be able to close all of those money losing post offices? ...it may be time for the government to significantly scale back mail delivery and post offices, it is no longer a service that the government must perform in order to exist.

    that's quite a jump from "closing money losing post offices" to "a service no longer needed" period.

    The Post office is subject to unreasonable demands put on it by congressional republicans in a very obvious attempt put the post office out of business.

    If they didn't have to meet the absurd pre-funding demands, the post office would be doing just fine.

    it's pretty straightforward.

  • I am ok with the post office shrinking in size no matter which party is the force behind it.

    ....if it is actually the lobbyists of UPS and FedEx that are responsible for it, I'm ok with that too. At this point, 3x a week USPS delivery would serve most of the country fine.

This discussion has been closed.