Part of the inequality comes from high-paid federal employees. Reuters notes: “Today there are 320,000 federal jobs in the Washington area. Within the District of Columbia, 55% pay $100,000 or more. ” But even more of the inequality comes from the large numbers of even more highly-paid lobbyists that today’s big government has attracted: “Nearly 13,000 lobbyists registered with the government last year and reported $3.3 billion in fees, or about $260,000 per lobbyist. That’s 22% more lobbyists and 37% more inflation-adjusted revenue per lobbyist than in 1998,” reports Reuters.
But highly-paid bureaucrats and higher-paid lobbyists don’t generate much in the way of jobs for working people, which is why the number of sub-100K jobs in Washington has actually declined. If these bureaucrats and lobbyists worked for companies that made things, there’d be more employment. But — except for waitstaff at pricey lunch places — lobbying and being lobbied doesn’t generate a lot of jobs. So it’s a division between rich trough-feeders and poor everyone-else, a situation often seen in Third World capitals.
At the local level, of course, D.C.’s woes are compounded by an inept government that is often marked by naked racial attacks on Asian shopkeepers, and by efforts to actually kill businesses that compete with favored interests. Not many jobs are created that way either.