February 12, 2009 11:51AM

A Simple Way to Enrich Everyone, Instantly

Hey Slate! I can commit the broken window fallacy too. Can I write a business column? Pretty please?

The economy of the Washington, D.C., area has boomed in recent decades not so much because the federal government has expanded its payrolls massively but because private government contractors have been thriving. As the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes, in January, “the large areas with the lowest jobless rates in December were Oklahoma City, Okla., and Washington‐​Arlington‐​Alexandria, D.C.-Va.-Md.-W.Va.” — a capital city, and the capital city.

I have a modest proposal, then.

Washington, DC is only one city, but what we really want is to enrich the whole country. I therefore propose that we increase all federal taxes by a factor of sixty, so that federal spending, which now only enriches the 5 million in the DC area, will be enough to enrich all 300 million Americans.

We can spend it on a proportionate number of “private” government contractors if it helps. That’s fine with me — you know how we free‐​marketers love anything calling itself “private.” All that matters is that we keep borrowing, taxing, and inflating ourselves into the wealth that Washington so obviously has. That, you see, is the power of private enterprise.