In Washington, and marbled throughout its pricy suburbs, there’s income inequality of a different sort. The richest counties in the country — Fairfax, Montgomery, Loudon, and the rest — are now clustered in the metro Washington area. They’re rich not because D.C. has just emerged as the Silicon Valley of the East or the North Dakota of the South. The D.C. region produces few new products, few new services, but it is rolling in boomtown money, nonetheless. Its faux prosperity is generated the old-fashioned way: by state coercion. The central government takes money from the folks “back home” and spreads it around the lobby culture, creating a fix-and-favor economy so prosperous that it outstrips all — literally, all — of the productive communities “back home.”
This situation can’t be politically hygienic.