Our government is supposed to be a government of the people, by the people...but when I look at Washington, D.C., I see a government of elites. Rules are made by the elites, for the elites. It's one reason why seven of America's ten richest counties now surround D.C. In this week's syndicated column, I look at Imperial Washington.
It's not that Washingtonians are smarter or more productive than the rest of us. It's that as government grows, more money flows to lobbyists, trade groups and others who live close to those who pass out your money. Government is a parasite - but a parasite that helps its friends. The way people get rich in Washington is not by inventing things, but by being good at schmoozing and manipulating the bureaucrats who control your money.
Tourists visit Washington and admire the beautiful buildings. All that marble once made me feel patriotic, too, but now I get angry.
Unions claim workers are "under"-paid. But today's union headquarters resemble palaces. The biggest teachers union, the National Education Association, built a $100 million Washington headquarters that it calls "an environmental oasis." The AFL-CIO's beautiful lobby features a giant mosaic made of marble, glass and gold.
When I tried to take pictures so TV viewers could see the elegance, I was told to leave.
Government buildings are grand, too, even new ones like the Reagan office building. "It's very much like Versailles before the French Revolution," says historian John Steele Gordon. Washingtonians have become like the French nobility, who spent their lives in the palace at Versailles "and didn't know much about what went on outside that world."
Read the rest of my syndicated column here.