10 charts about the Washington economy

The latest economic reports certainly do not disappoint. With jobs, unemployment and growth all in striking form, it’s difficult to look at the week ahead and not be impressed. How has Washington fared, though? Not well, with the government shutdown threatening to gum up Washington’s prospects. Are Republicans on the right track with their plan? Does President Obama deserve more credit for the current jobs picture? Is America better off than it was a decade ago? What should be the next steps? We’ve decided to help answer those questions and more.

We spent much of this week trying to figure out how the Washington economy could get better, right now. It’s hard to tell if anyone from the business community has a good answer, but at least on some of the broader measures, we found some indications of improvement. Here are 10 important charts that give us a sense of how we’re doing.

Alas, from the fiscal perspective, the picture is bleak. We asked our colleagues on both sides of the aisle to comment on the fiscal picture — where do we go from here? — but neither side could pass along a satisfactory answer. Same with the politics. Washington looks broken, whether that’s the result of a bad economy or partisan warfare. One thing is clear, though: We’re in no hurry to fix things. Our first question was, “How could the business community do better?” We got a mixed bag.

We have a somewhat refreshing style of analysis here, so no matter what side of the aisle you’re on, you’ll find something here that’s of interest. (We hope.) But if you want to know why Washington seems out of touch, read up on some of the issues we find most troubling. Want a sense of where we are in terms of the economic recovery, both from the private sector and from the public sector? Read about that in the downturn and then some. Do you agree or disagree with what we’re saying? Contact us and let us know.

We’d also like to know what you think. What would you like to see in the future? Where should the economy go from here? Do you agree with anything we’ve said? Are you frustrated or scared? In any case, whatever your experience with Washington in the past decade, please feel free to share what you’ve learned in the comments.

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