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Unbuckling the Beltway

By Ed O'Keefe

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.

By Ed O'Keefe  | July 26, 2010; 9:30 AM ET
Categories:  From The Pages of The Post, What Would You Do?  
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Per 4 USC 71 & 72, Federal agencies are required to be located in DC (unless have "exemption"). Wouldn't your idea violate this?

Posted by: open51 | July 26, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Congress cannot violate the US Code, it is literally impossible.

Posted by: jiji1 | July 26, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

To say "that Washington has grown far bigger than the founders ever contemplated" is being far too charitable. The federal government has become more powerful than the founders ever intended and tried to prevent with a Constitution of enumerated and limited powers.

Today the federal government is a huge welfare agency whose entire budget is consumed by transfer payments. Everything else the feds do is financed by debt to foreign powers. The solution to this sad state of affairs is not political bribery to make it more palatable.

Posted by: The-Baron-of-Arizona | July 26, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

So it's treason, then.

Posted by: jiji1 | July 26, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

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