Well, @SullyDish won't respond to my email asking him to correct the factual inaccuracies in his ad hominem. So here's this:

Dear Andrew and team,

Many thanks for your response to my article on Washington, D.C. -- I'm pleased at the conversation that it's kicked off, and am always happy to hear criticism of my stories. But I do think that your readers are reading some factual inaccuracies into my work in the responses you posted.

"How about the fact that her basic premise (exploding federal workforce leads to an economic boom in DC) is completely backwards: DC the city has boomed precisely while the federal workforce stagnated or fell through the '90s and 2000s (see chart here)."

This is not at all my basic premise. Indeed, the article is at pains to show that while the federal workforce has grown only slowly, the federal budget has ballooned, particularly since Sept. 11. Hundreds of billions of those dollars have gone to security, intelligence and defense priorities, often disbursed through contractors. The Washington region — the District and the Northern Virginia and Maryland suburbs — retain about 15 cents of every contracting dollar, hence the tremendous economic boom we've seen in the past decade.

"The real story of DC's revival is much more complex, but you could start with our series of pragmatic yet idealistic city leaders."

I do think that the city government helped pave the way for the District's revitalization, by putting it on a sound fiscal path, wrenching down the crime rate and implementing strong urbanist and development-focused policies. I also think that helped the District attract or retain residents who might have under other circumstances lived across the border in Maryland or Virginia.

But I don't think that the tremendous flourishing that you have seen in the past decade — the million-dollar condos, the huge profusion of bars and restaurants, the influx of new workers and businesses — would have happened absent the huge growth in contracting dollars. In the story, I describe the growth as coming in something like concentric circles: More federal money raises incomes and the overall level of human capital. That draws in new businesses, many in sectors like technology and medicine. All those new jobs creates demand for new restaurants, bars and amenities, like fitness clubs and shops.

That's a simplistic development story, of course, and nothing is monocausal. But I don't think you can extricate D.C. from the broader region.

"Ugh. Thanks for being there to give some voice to DC's frustration at the NYC condescension."

Just for the record, I've never lived in New York, and I've been in Washington on and off for a decade.

"Makes me want to go back - just to stick it to Annie Lowrey, and her insufferable condescension."

Oh, you're welcome back any time, muffin.

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