by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
When Jeb Bush said, somewhat tongue in cheek, that he wanted to “create a little recession in Washington, D.C.,” the pundit class nearly blew a gasket. How dare he! But Jeb is on to something.
Bush was responding to the Democrats’ main message going into the 2016 elections, which is: “Let’s offer voters lots of free stuff.”
“I think a better message,” he told Fox News’ Sean Hannity this week, “is ‘Let’s disrupt Washington.’ Let’s create a little bit of a recession in Washington, D.C., so that we can have economic prosperity outside of Washington.”
Of course, what Bush meant was shrink the size of government. But even if he meant it literally, it’s not a bad idea.
After all, thanks to the trillions of taxpayer dollars that flow through the federal government, four of the nation’s five richest counties — Virginia’s Loudoun, Fairfax and Arlington counties, and Maryland’s Howard County — all surround Washington. …
… When the number of private-sector jobs had tumbled 7.6% from the pre-recession peak, the number of jobs in the federal government had climbed almost 12% — and that’s not counting temporary Census workers.
Is it any wonder that D.C.-based reporters and politicians seem so clueless about just how bad the economy has been for the past seven years? They’ve been living in a taxpayer-financed bubble.
Bush has it exactly right.