DC

Cato's David Boaz Does Not Like D.C.'s 'One Percenters'

04/23/2012 01:41 pm ET

WASHINGTON -- "One percenters" in the nation's capital are wealthier than are rich people elsewhere in the country, and the Cato Institute's David Boaz does not like it.

To be considered part of the 1 percent in this area, it takes a household income far above the national average of $387,000. The gateway for the region is $527,000. In the District, the top 1 percent of households bring in at least $617,000; in Montgomery County, more than $606,000; and in Fairfax County, $532,000, according to an analysis of census statistics by The Washington Post and Sentier Research, a firm that specializes in income data.

Some statistics in the story give pause -- the one relating that 80 percent of the "one percenters" are white, for example. And it was a little surprising to read that a one percenter who "had just returned from a business retreat on billionaire Richard Branson’s private island" describe his million-dollar home in Potomac as “typical, stereotypical . . . very normal, upper-middle-class neighborhood.”

But there are no surprises in where D.C.'s rich people get their money, according to the Post:

Most of those people making the big bucks are exactly who you would expect: doctors, lawyers, chief executives, managers and management analysts.

Boaz responded to the piece with a libertarian bent in Cato's "@ Liberty" blog:

The one percent in Washington are lawyers, lobbyists, government contractors, and the doctors and entrepreneurs who serve them. But unlike regions where actual wealth is created — software, automobiles, financial services, capital allocation, movies and television, medicine — Washington’s economy is based on the confiscation and transfer of wealth produced elsewhere. As such, Washington’s wealth is a net loss for economic growth in the country.

Some Post commenters agreed with Boaz -- others accused the Post of stirring up class warfare.

One advised all readers to believe in the American dream:

Look, if Kim Kardashian can make it in this country, nobody has any excuses.

Suggest a correction
Comments

CONVERSATIONS