Autumn Evening at Washington Plaza, Lake Anne,

Autumn Evening at Washington Plaza, Lake Anne,
Photo by Rodney Solano, Reston, hat tip Reston Patch

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Washington’s Economic Boom, Financed by You, New York Times, January 13, 2013

Washington Bureau writer Annie Lowrey writes an extensive and well-researched article in today's NYT about the decade-long boom in government contract spending in the Washington area and the potential economic impact of a reduction in spending growth.  The article discounts the likelihood of sequestration and a resulting regional recession, but highlights the steady transition to a slower economic growth model over several years.   Here is maybe the key paragraph in the multi-page article:
It is not hard to imagine how this marked decrease in federal spending might ripple through the regional economy. Scant job growth will mean lower wages, meaning slower consumer spending, meaning less demand for new bars and clubs and stores and luxury apartments. But just how deeply this will affect the economy is unclear. It’s possible that federal budgets might never get cut outright, with Congress instead slowing the path of spending growth. That might mean slower growth for Washington, but hardly a contraction or a regional recession of the kind that plagued Detroit after the auto industry shrank. And even if the sequester cuts are more drastic, it might take years before the local economy feels them. “People are saying, ‘We’re going to lose a million jobs here,’ ” says Gordon Adams, a professor of international relations at American University. “That’s not going to happen, and it’s not going to happen because contractors are working on existing contracts financed with prior-year dollars. We’re going to be working through this for some time, and there’s going to be a very slow roll to actual projects. The implications aren’t for current work, but the next round of work.”
1986: Michael Horsley; Now: Michael Horsley for The New York Times
The corner of N Street and 15th Street, NW Washington.
This is an excellent article for understanding the historic and prospective trends for economic growth in our region, including Reston.  And while the article does not discuss the implications for the massive investment in a future utopian Tysons or Reston downtown along the new Silver Line, it is especially important that local officials take a close, hard, impartial look at the multi-billion tax dollar bets they are placing on growth there related to the new Silver Line.

Remember:  The future will be like the past, only different!

Click here to read the full article.  

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