Gallup just released the results of its annual survey of people’s economic views, and the results are not encouraging. Unless you live in Washington, D.C., that is. Why?
For the second year in a row, the majority of people in all 50 states told Gallup that they had a negative outlook on the economy. And for the second year in a row, D.C. residents told Gallup that their outlook was positively glorious.
Between January and December of 2013, Gallup polled over 178,000 adults across the country and asked them how they felt about the economy and its prospects. At least 500 adults were surveyed in each state, and in 41 states, at least 1,000 people were interviewed. Gallup polled 462 adults in Washington, D.C.
Gallup then took the results from all 50 states and D.C. and turned them into an economic index: a score of 100 would mean that everybody viewed the economy as excellent and getting better, while a score of -100 would suggest that everybody saw an abysmal economy that was only getting worse. An index score of 0 would suggest an economy stuck in neutral with no gas left in the tank. For 2013, the national average was -16.
It’s hard to blame those in D.C. for being upbeat about their own personal economies. Being a direct beneficiary of the ever-increasing federal leviathan has its benefits. After all, it’s far better to be the architect of the Hunger Games than to be one of its participants. Census data released last December show that the areas surrounding D.C. are among the most wealthy in the U.S.:
The Census Bureau has confirmed that, once again, the Washington region dominates the list of the most affluent places in the United States.
Among more than 3,000 counties across the nation, Loudoun County is the richest, with a median household income last of almost $119,000. Maryland’s Howard County and Virginia’s Fairfax, Arlington and Stafford counties also made it into the top 10. Three New Jersey counties outside New York City also were among the well-off top 10.
One silver lining of the Gallup report, though, was that the economic outlook improved in 46 states when compared to results from 2012. Only four states showed declines in their outlook: West Virginia (-2), Hawaii (-3), Alaska (-6), and South Dakota (-10).
And Washington, D.C. (-10).
And not only was D.C. one of the few areas which believed the economy got worse in 2013, it was actually tied with South Dakota for the largest overall drop in its assessment of the economy relative to 2012. Now, what could have possibly caused one of the richest regions in the country to think the economy was getting worse? From the Gallup analysis:
The District of Columbia (+19) is the clear outlier in economic confidence, having the only positive reading for 2013 and well above the readings for even the most optimistic states. Its confidence has taken a hit, however, since 2012, when its index was +29. Likely factors in the 10-point drop include October's federal government shutdown as well as the sequestration spending cuts that occurred earlier in the year.
When Uncle Sugar cuts off your allowance, life just doesn’t seem as sweet. If that’s not a roaring endorsement for another round of federal spending cuts, I don’t know what is.