Is Washington a ‘City That Produces Almost Nothing of Actual Economic Value'?

May 28, 2013

Sen. Mike Lee made this comment as he tangled with a fellow Republican, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, about whether to appoint members of a conference committee to negotiate a nonbinding budget blueprint with the House. Lee blocked the move because he feared it might lead to a deal on lifting the debt ceiling.

“In case no one’s noticed, the way Washington works stinks,” Lee argued, warning of a “back-room deal.”

As a long-time denizen of the Washington area, the Fact Checker was struck by the assertion that Washington “produces almost nothing of actual economic value.” What does that mean? What does the data show?

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