To many, regardless of your political persuasion, Washington D.C. feels disconnected from the rest of the country. After all, when the rest of the country is experiencing recession, Washington D.C. keeps humming along.

But take a few facts into account:

  • Washington D.C. has the highest per capita income in the nation at more than $93,000, and rents are skyrocketing for businesses, government entities, and people.
  • Many midwestern cities have lost large chunks of their population, and could do with a few thousand well-paid jobs (and the spin off economic activity from that) moving in.
  • Midwestern cities have so many of the benefits of coastal cities, like cultural attractions and sports teams
  • Coastal cities infrastructure is breaking under the weight of so many additional people

So’s Matt Yglesias & their team put together an interesting video (we’ve embedded it above, you should take a look at it, it’s only a a few minutes) that poses a question: Should government agencies move to cities outside of D.C.?

After all, the money for these agencies come from everywhere, maybe other states should benefits? Now with the internet, collaboration can happen from long distances. And there’s already a model – the Centers for Disease Control is in Atlanta, after all – and has 14,000 people working for it.

The thought experiment says to focus on non-political agencies, those with technical and functional skills. Which makes sense. And long-term, the government might actually be able to save money due to lower overhead and costs of living. The median house price in D.C. is $385,000. In the city of Detroit, it’s $41,500.

Detroit getting the National Weather Service and their 5,000 jobs? Or the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare and those roughly 4,000 employees? Around here, that’d be front page news.

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