To live in Washington, D.C., is to have friends and family in other parts of the country. And while talking to people I know elsewhere, I've made the point many times in the past year that this area has not been hit by the recession to the same extent as San Francisco or St. Louis or Minneapolis or Boston or wherever they may be.

That's because the share of the nation's wealth that we spend here -- typically about one-fifth -- has gone up thanks to the $787 billion stimulus package and other deficit-builders.

Now, not all that money is actually spent here, of course. We've written time and again about how states, cities and counties are getting and spending their share of the stimulus. But the money is appropriated here. Which means that we continue to have enormous numbers of lobbyists, even though their ranks have supposedly shrunk a little lately. The Washington Post reported recently that the number of lobbyists is down below 2001 levels -- but we still aren't talking Wall Street or Detroit-style job losses here.

The Partnership for Public Service this month released a report indicating that the federal government will need to hire 270,000 workers to replace retirees and staff expanded programs over the next three years. That's going to translate into roughly 120,000 new jobs here in the D.C. area alone.

This steady economic activity and job creation translates into the nation's greatest concentration of wealth -- at least among young workers, if a new Nielsen study is to be believed. This metro area now contains an incredible 16 of the top 50 counties for 25-to-34 year-olds making $100,000 or more.

It's easier to get into most area restaurants than it was two years ago. But two years from now, it's going to be a lot harder scoring a good table around here than it will be just about anywhere else in the country.

Your tax dollars at work.