Unbuckling the Beltway
Colleague Alec MacGillis posed an interesting question in Sunday's Outlook section: What if we broke up Washington and moved most federal agencies beyond the Beltway?:
It's an admittedly improbable idea, given the universal instinct for self-preservation, but with Washington burgeoning in a time of general economic gloom, why not address the imbalance by dispersing the government more broadly? Such a move would spread more evenly the benefits of federal employment (and its contractor hangers-on). It would make the federal bureaucracy more attuned to regional issues. And it just might help dissipate some of the anti-Washington venom that's coursing through the country.
Splintering the federal government holds both political benefits for the country and economic benefits for the regions to which jobs are dispersed, said Robert Rupp, a political scientist at West Virginia Wesleyan College -- and a resident of a state that has enjoyed a very targeted form of federal job relocation, thanks to the late senator Robert Byrd. 'If we begin with the fact that Washington has grown far bigger than the founders ever contemplated, and that voters are mean and mad and distrustful of Beltway politics, it makes sense,' he said.
What would you do? Leave it as is or spread it out across the country in hopes of defusing anti-government sentiments and spreading the economic benefits of the federal government far and wide? Read Alec's full piece then share your thoughts in the comments section below and during a live discussion at Noon ET.
| July 26, 2010; 9:30 AM ET
Categories: From The Pages of The Post, What Would You Do?
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