In anticipation of your W-2 and 1099 tax forms coming next month, now might be a good time to point out something. The Census Bureau recently released information concerning the five wealthiest counties in the US. All of them just happen to surround Washington DC. In fact, nine of the top twenty wealthiest counties connect to our nation’s capital. Pause and let that paragraph sink in.
Surprisingly, or perhaps sadly, not one county in the Midwest made the Top 20 List. Moreover, 17 of the 20 counties were on one coast or another.
The top five, in order of the wealthiest are: Loudoun County VA – median income $134,464; Falls Church VA - $115,244; Fairfax County VA - $114,329; Howard County MD - $113,800; and Arlington County VA - $108,706. Four out of five right in Virginia? The average across the United States for household income is less than half at $55,322.
The Census Bureau calculates household income as the combined income of every resident of the house, regardless of source, over the age of 15. Although not specifically mentioned, I surmise this would include only sources of legal income, and not junior’s flourishing basement pot business.
We taxpayers sent $3.3 trillion dollars to the IRS in 2015. The IRS spent $1.1 billion on salaries, administration, a ridiculous pension for Lois Lerner, and chasing us for money. That left $3.2 trillion sent to Washington DC for politicians to spend our money as they saw fit. They spent it…plus another $327 billion.
Now, my dear late father used to call me a suspicious “person.” Actually, he didn’t use the word “person”, he used another word which would have indicated his marital status at the time of my birth. I wonder if he saw the irony? Be that what it may, I prefer to consider myself “righteously dubious.”
Consider average citizens - well, about half of us - send 30-40% of our hard-earned money to the IRS in Kansas City every year. After processing, they forward the rest of the money to Washington DC. And somehow, at the same time, the people living in collar counties around Washington DC just happen to have the ability to earn twice as much as the average schmuck in the rest of the country. What do you suppose they do, or know, to make twice what we do? What are the statistical odds that the people able to earn twice what average people do can do so right there around our nation’s capital, where trillions of dollars are flowing every year?
Take the county sitting on the top of the heap, Loudon County in Virginia, for example. It has more than doubled in population since the year 2000, at about 384,000 people today. Heavily Republican since 1952, when the population was less than 25,000, it exploded in size starting right about 2008 – the same year Barack Obama was elected. That year it also became a Democratic county, grabbed the top spot for median household income, and has held on to that distinction since. The other four top counties are all heavily Democratic voting blocs as well, going all the way back to the Clinton years. You would do well to remember that the next time your favorite Democratic Congressman tells you the Republican tax cut plan only benefits the rich.
Obviously, we have no way of knowing how the people of Loudon County, or any of the other counties, make money. As long as they aren’t doing it with my tax money, and are doing it legally, then I have no misgivings whatsoever how they make a buck. In fact, more power to them.
However, a check of the Loudon County Economic Development website might be somewhat enlightening as to why it is so successful. It boasts 60% of their working population has at least a Bachelor’s Degree. That in itself is quite impressive. It is the corporate home to the NFL’s Redskins. (They dropped the name Washington, as it was embarrassing.) And it has a Trump National Golf Course – I’m impressed…and jealous.
But there were a couple of other items the website lists as “Advantages” that caught my “dubious” eye. The first was “Easy access to Washington DC area suppliers, federal agencies, customers, and labor pool. Federal Agencies? Additionally, “the largest number of internet, satellite, and defense companies in the nation.” Did you notice the word “defense” in that last sentence?
Some things you can prove, other things you just know.
Or perhaps, dad was right.