The Washington Post ran this as a straight news story, which tells you all you need to know about irony in DC. We’ll start with the story itself. Here’s Washington DC today:
Washington, a company town unlike any other in America, was on the verge of grinding to a standstill late Monday. And with the factory about to be shuttered, here’s what the dawn could bring: More than 700,000 federal workers idled in and around the District; battalions of frustrated tourists locked out of museums; rush-hour commutes that feel like Sunday morning and countless worried merchants wringing their hands.
The Capital of the Free World: Closed till further notice.
Immune from the worst of a recession that battered the rest of the nation in recent years, U.S. government employees in this U.S. government town know they’ll be disproportionately impacted if nonessential federal offices and programs are shut down at midnight in the spending impasse between Congress and the White House.
“I don’t do something that keeps people alive,” said NASA employee Victoria Friedensen, 57, walking on Capitol Hill in her orange workout jacket Monday before going to work. She’s a program executive, and she and others have been told they will have to stay home if the government closes.
And here’s Washington DC during the last six years of economic collapse, recession, and stagnation. Median household income in DC is the red line, with the chart courtesy of the Federal Reserve of St. Louis:
Now, this doesn’t mean that a shutdown is a good thing, or that the federal employees in Washington deserve to be furloughed because of the political battles of elected officials in the nation’s capital. It’s just that this report seems to leave out the fact that these folks have been doing very well, mainly on tax dollars taken from everywhere else in the country where incomes haven’t been skyrocketing. And maybe the budget issues are more significant than just the local economy in DC.