Sunday, April 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Oh those Washington ways

Couple findings kinda show what Americans feel about their government and just maybe why.

Oh those Washington ways

Back in November 2009, I wrote a column asking whether we as a city, state and nation -- for a variety of recogizable reasons -- are ungovernable.

As a professional cynic, I thought then and I think now that we are.

And, since we live in a top-down world, the primary causes are the ways of Washington.

Well, The Washington Post offers two items I see as linked and explanatory.

First, the results of a Gallup Poll marking trends that shows citizen dissatisfaction with government and its effectiveness at an all-time high: nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of Americans are not happy about our governance, and that's up from from 23 percent in 2002, up from about 48 percent in 2009.

The second item, which I think helps explain the first, cites a study by the Sunlight Foundation showing an insane jump in lobbying cash and the increasing "revolving door" between Congress and the lobbying industry.

The study notes lobbying revenue nearly doubled between1998 and 2012 to more than $1 billion.

And it also shows the growth of active lobbyists during the period, a majority of new lobbyists coming from government and Congress.

There's a reason the Washington metro area never really felt the recession.

The Post reported in 2012 that U.S. Commerce Department Bureau of Economic Analysis data showed that in 1969 wages in the D.C. area were 12 percent higher than the national average and in 2010 they were 36 percent higher.

This alone -- quite apart from partisanship and idiocy -- helps explain why Washington ways are they way they are and why the rest of us are unhappy about it.

 

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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