Conventional wisdom says this city makes nothing, that we are just a place of words and bureaucracy.
Conventional wisdom is not quite right.
Washington manufactures crises—big-time crises, completely unnecessary crises, costly crises, the kind that drain money and opportunity from current and future generations while resident politicians complain that we now have a debt crisis stemming from our previous crises.
What happened here in the last few weeks is sadly representative. Nationwide, fifteen American cities had been devastated by fire and water. People lost lives and property in sweeping Texas wildfires and the flood waters spawned by Hurricane Irene. Folks hurt by those disasters turned to Washington for help. Washington gave them a crisis.