Monday, April 25, 2011

The Washington D.C. Bubble - K Street Edition

Outside of the northern plains states (Dakotas, Nebraska et al) which are America's version of Australia, and Manhattan - the one area of the country that has weather the Great Recession the best is Washington D.C.  [USA Today Nov 10th - More Federal Workers' Pay Tops $150,000]   Indeed, one could say this area has taken over as the country's center of 'prosperity', as an unending gush of federal spending creates a micro climate unlike anywhere else.  [Feb 3, 2011: Washington D.C. Leads Nation's Major Cities in Job Growth in 2010]  [Mar 11, 2010: [Video] America's 3 Wealthiest Counties Now Ring Washington D.C.]   Aside from the boom in the federal government sector itself, has come the offshoots of all that spending.  Many news hands have appeared in D.C. reaching for handouts... along with writing the laws of the country to benefit themselves guiding legislators on the key issues affecting their industries.

On that front, Ritholtz at The Big Picture posted a link to this Time Magazine story (subscription required) with an impressive graphic showing the boom in lobbying.  This one industry has shown 120% growth in just 1 decade - from $1.6B in spending to $3.5B.  Wouldn't you love to have a growth industry like that in your town?

The recession skipped K Street. The firms along Washington's traditional lobbyists' row have continued to expand despite the nation's economic woes. In fact, because of them sweeping legislative fights over health care, financial reform, energy, climate change and defense have spurred companies to spend to defend their turf. "It's the kind of expansion that any industry would have envied during that very dark period," says Dave Levinthal, editor of a blog of the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that tracks lobbying.

And of course the finance industry is the top dog here....but the return on investment the past few years has been incredible.  

[click to enlarge]

[Apr 12, 2011: The Revolving Door Between Washington DC and Wall Street]
[Nov 29, 2010: On the Safety of Government Work]

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