Posted to The Daily Caller
March 24, 2014
By Bruce Majors, Libertartarian Candidate for DC Mayor
Washington, D.C. recently rated near the top of American cities for income inequality. Perversely, D.C.’s economy is a welfare state for the rich, or at least the upper middle class: The federal government imports thousands people with law or other graduate degrees to D.C. monthly, and pays them between $75,000 and $150,000 a year.
Lobbying and law firms hire, at even higher salaries, other demographically similar people to navigate the expanding federal government. The new residents bid up real estate prices — both sale prices and rents — displacing D.C.’s long term residents, who have less money, are more likely to be minorities, and less likely to have graduate, or even undergraduate degrees.
What can D.C. offer its long term residents, as a company town with one major industry — government — which mainly hires people with grad school degrees? D.C. needs to diversify its economy, and develop new industry, beyond government, law, lobbying, journalism and tourism. One way would be to tap into D.C.’s comparative advantage, exploiting the resource it has more of than anyone else. And that would be liberalism. According to Gallup, Washington, D.C. has a more liberal population than any state.
Why not monetize this natural resource? D.C. has done a bad job of tapping it. For instance, while a couple of states legalized not just the possession of marijuana, but growing and selling it, D.C. managed to legalize medical marijuana 15 years ago, but then couldn’t get a dispensary open until last year, due to a thicket of regulations.
Now D.C. is decriminalizing personal possession of small amounts of pot, but our incumbentocracy (all the city council members running for Mayor) disagrees over whether fines should be $25 or $100, and whether one should be free to smoke pot on your front porch or a sidewalk cafe, and whether you should be arrested if you are found with it outside your own home. These are the same people who took 15 years to allow permits for a dispensary for the medical marijuana they had already legalized.
Bruce Majors is a long-time Libertarian activist and has run for office several times. He is currently running for mayor of Washington DC.