WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 24: A boy walks past the Washington Monument on the National Mall August 24, 2011 in Washington, DC. The Washington Monument will remain indefinitely closed after yesterday's 5.8 magnitude East Coast earthquake left cracks near the top of the 555-foot-tall obelisk. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
The New York Times’ Sunday op-ed page featured a piece on Washington D.C titled “Why D.C. Is Doing So Well. Written by Times’ Washington Bureau Chief David Leonhardt, the article is a good talk piece for DMV residents and a look into why D.C. seems to be faring better economically than other metropolitan areas in the country.
At first Leonhardt ostensibly links the District’s success with the success of the Washington Nationals baseball team.
A sports team obviously cannot create a civic renaissance. But when a city and a team happen to go on a good run at the same time, it can be particularly sweet, and it’s happened more often than you might think.
But he then goes a bit deeper and tries to explain why Washington may have the “healthiest economy of any major metropolitan area in the country. “ And the main reason for low unemployment rates and relative economic boom isn’t too surprising: stimulus dollars.
The Washington area’s households and businesses have cut back in recent years, too, but their frugality has been offset by steady government spending. If anything, government has helped fill the void, with the District of Columbia’s having received more stimulus dollars per capita than any state, according to an analysis by ProPublica.
In the worldwide experiment on fiscal policy that’s been run during the past few years, Washington has joined China firmly in the stimulus camp. Much of the rest of the United States, where almost two million state and local government jobs have disappeared, looks more like austerity-hobbled Europe.
While the DMV area has one of the best educated populations, Leonhardt writes that not all is perfect in the District and much of the city still remains poor.
But—despite defining D.C. too narrowly as just a politics town and not delving deep into the population that is struggling—his conclusion seems rightfully optimistic.
But Washington’s strengths are a good bet to outlast its weaknesses. High-skill economies can overcome temporary downturns. And young superstars eventually tend to find the supporting cast they deserve.
IN OTHER NEWS:
* The Human Rights Campaign is expected to announce Monday an additional $1 million in spending on same-sex marriage ballot marriages this fall. $250,000 of that sum will be going to Maryland.
* The Richmond Times-Dispatch editorial board wrote that when it comes to providing solutions to the fiscal crisis, Virginia Democratic Senate candidate Tim Kaine has the better answer: Compromise. “Draw a line at $500,000 and raise taxes for anybody making more than that.”
Kaine is facing George Allen in the highly anticipated Virginia Senate race.
* The Obama campaign is opening six more offices in the battleground state of Virginia.
*The high turnover atop the Virginia GOP is a reflection of the rift between the state’s GOP candidates, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.
* What is the right level of [speed camera] fine, and how can DC policymakers use science to determine the right level that maximizes safety? David Alpert from at Greater Greater Washington with an analysis.
* The Roanoke Times editorial board writes that the recent reports of a Virginia budget surplus is misleading, and is actually just the result of conservative forecasts.
* The Post editorial board says that D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson is “on solid ground in raising the standard for what it means to be an effective [teacher.]”