The WSJ reports:
Washington, D.C., nosed out San Jose, Calif., as the nation’s highest-income metropolitan region, fueled mainly by its army of attorneys, consultants, lobbyists and outside government contractors.
Census data for 2010 show median household income was $84,523 in the D.C. area, compared with $83,944 for the San Jose region, the epicenter of Silicon Valley. Both numbers are well above the median income of about $50,000 for the nation as a whole. While Washington’s incomes in 2010 were lower than in 2009, paychecks in the D.C. region have been more stable overall. * * *
While government work helps account for Washington’s lower jobless rate, its heftier income level is due to the lawyers, lobbyists and contractors whose salaries far outstrip their public-sector counterparts.
Now of course one could reasonably say that these Washington workers are high-paid because they are intelligent, well-trained, and have valuable expertise. The problem is that all these intelligent, well-trained experts are being funneled into government.
The rise of Washington vis a vis Silicon Valley is a trenchant commentary on modern life.