A Really Good Idea

On October 24, The Federal Times posted an article about relocating some of the Washington bureaucracy. What a great idea. We need to move some of the people in charge of government agencies closer to the people they are supposed to serve. We also need to break up the concentration of power that is the Washington swamp.

It is not a coincidence that many of the wealthiest counties in America are suburbs of Washington, D.C.

According to Wikipedia (a questionable source, but I suspect this is correct):

Presented below are the 25 highest-income counties (with populations of 65,000 or greater) in the United States by median household income according to the 2016 American Community Survey[4] prepared by the US Census Bureau. Five of the counties are located in the state of Maryland, five are in Virginia, four in California, three in New Jersey, two in New York, and one each in: Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas. (Disclaimer: This only includes counties that participated in this single survey)

The Federal Times reports:

The Trump administration’s decision to move three agency components outside the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area has spurred a sizeable amount of controversy, but Sens. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., want to keep going with that trend.

The two senators introduced a bill Oct. 23 that would move about 90 percent of the workforce at the headquarters for 10 federal agencies to other states around the country and pop the “bubble” of D.C. federal employment.

“Every year Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars fund federal agencies that are mainly located in the D.C. bubble. That’s a big part of the problem with Washington: they’re too removed from the rest of America,” said Hawley in a news release.

“The HIRE Act will move policymakers directly into the communities they serve, creating thousands of jobs for local communities and saving taxpayers billions of dollars along the way.”

Under the proposal, the Department of Agriculture would move to Missouri, Commerce to Pennsylvania, Education to Tennessee, Energy to Kentucky, Health and Human Services to Indiana, Housing and Urban Development to Ohio, Interior to New Mexico, Labor to West Virginia, Transportation to Michigan and Veterans Affairs to South Carolina.

Obviously there are objections to this idea. The swamp is not enthusiastic about being split up!

The article concludes:

About 20 percent of D.C. residents are employed directly by the federal government, according to OPM and population data, while each of the 10 states slated for agency relocation under the bill have about .3 to one percent of their populations working for the federal government.

But Washington has an incredibly small population when compared with these states, and even if the entire D.C. federal workforce were to be relocated equally across the 10 states, the state with the lowest percent of federal workforce, Michigan, would only move from .3 percent to .4 percent.

The bill is bound to get strong pushback not only from the Democratically controlled House, which has been opposed to many of the Trump administration’s smaller moves, but also from the Virginia and Maryland members of Congress, whose states and districts would be likely to lose a number of jobs due to a relocation.

Relocation might also clear up the incredible traffic jam that is Washington, D.C. I suspect that it also would be cheaper to run government agencies in places where renting or owning office space would be considerably lower.

This will probably never happen, but it is a great idea.

Consequences Of Good Economic Policy

On Friday, Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial about The Heritage Foundation’s 25th annual “Index of Economic Freedom.”

The editorial reports:

In just one year, the U.S. climbed six places to 12th worldwide on the Heritage Foundation’s 25th annual “Index of Economic Freedom.” The U.S. index score of 76.8 is the highest since 2011, the report says.

Heritage bases its annual rankings on a dozen different measures of economic freedom, such as tax burden, protection of property rights, tax burden trade policies, labor laws, judicial effectiveness.

…In fact, during Obama’s tenure, the U.S. plunged from 6th place down to 18th on the Heritage freedom rank, in the wake of tax hikes and massive new financial, insurance and environmental regulations.

The editorial explains the importance of these ratings:

Why do these rankings matter? As Heritage explains, there’s a clear correlation between economic freedom and prosperity. The freer an economy is, the more prosperous its people.

Heritage finds that in countries consistently rated “free” or “mostly free,” average incomes are twice that of all other countries, and five times that of “repressed” economies.

The most striking example of the connection between freedom and prosperity is Venezuela. One of the wealthiest countries in South America before socialist dictator Hugo Chávez took control, Venezuela is now racked with hyperinflation, starvation, and political chaos.

But you can see the same impact in the U.S. as well.

The editorial concludes:

And the benefits of this growth are widespread. The unemployment rate was just 3.9% at the end of the year. The job market is so vibrant right now that it’s pulling people off the sidelines to look for work. In fact, the number of people who aren’t in the labor force actually declined last year. That hasn’t happened since 1996 — which was in the middle of the Clinton boom. Wage growth is accelerating, and median household incomes are at record highs.

The freedom index is a powerful reminder that while redistributionist policies — like those currently in favor among Democrats — might be emotionally satisfying, they won’t grow the economy or boost prosperity.

It will be interesting where our rating is next year in view of the fact that the Democrats now control the House of Representatives.

Truth Is Always The First Casualty Of An Election Campaign

President Obama is not running for office this year. However, he has not hesitated to tell anyone who will listen what a great President he has been. Some of us aren’t convinced.

On Friday, The New York Post posted an article about President Obama’s recent claims about the economy.

The article states:

‘Anybody who says we are not absolutely better off today than we were just seven years ago, they’re not leveling with you. They’re not telling the truth,” Obama said last week. “By almost every economic measure, we are significantly better off.”

The article then goes on to report some of the actual statistics:

  • The labor force participation rate over that period has slid from 65.7 percent to 62.9 (the lowest reading since March 1978) — down 4.3 percent.
  •  On Obama’s watch, the percentage of Americans below the poverty line has grown, according to the most recent Census data, from 14.3 percent to 14.8 percent in 2014 — up 3.5 percent.
  •  Real median household income across that interval sank from $54,925 to $53,657 — down 2.3 percent.
  • Food Stamp participants soared in that time frame from 32,889,000 to 45,874,000 — up 39.5 percent.
  •  Meanwhile, from Obama’s arrival through the fourth quarter of 2015, the percentage of Americans who own homes sagged from 67.3 percent to 63.8 — down 5.2 percent.

I don’t think we can afford another four years of this sort of economic success.

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Zero Hedge has posted nine charts that clearly show what President Obama’s economic policies have done to the American economy and those of us who try to exist in it.

Here are the charts:

EconomicCharts2015

If you follow the link above to the site, you can make the charts larger. It really is not a pretty picture.

Where Has All The Money Gone?

Below is a chart posted by Ed Morrissey at Hot Air today:

fred-dc-usa-medianincome

The chart above shows the median household income of the Washington, D.C., area versus the median household income of the rest of the nation.

The article at Hot Air points out a few things about the graph:

From the mid-1980s to around 2007, the median household income rise in DC remained pretty closely linked to that of the nation as a whole.  Anyone remember what happened in 2007, besides the economic slowdown that would turn into the Great RecessionDemocrats took control of Congress and federal spending shot upward ever since.  And at least according to the Fed, that disparity is actually accelerating,  at least to 2012, with DC median income skyrocketing while the rest of us stagnate.

We have a choice to make as Americans. It’s not a Democrat or a Republican choice–it’s an American choice. Do we keep spending ourselves into bankruptcy or do we begin to act like adults and live within our means? The choice is ours. We have an election coming up in about a year. Forget party labels–they really aren’t worth much right now. Find out what the candidate’s position is on spending and formulating a federal budget (we haven’t had one since 2009). Find our what the candidate’s past voting record is on fiscal matters. These things are not hard to find. Thomas.gov is an excellent source of information for votes, sponsors of legislation, and actions of past Congresses. Do your homework–your country depends on it.

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