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We’re number two! D.C. is in the process of dethroning Chicago and Los Angeles for the spot behind New York as America’s “second city,” urban analyst Aaron M. Renn writes in City Journal:

Over the past decade, the D.C. area has made stunning economic and demographic progress. Meanwhile, America’s current and former Second Cities, population-wise—Los Angeles and Chicago—are battered and fading in significance. Though Washington still isn’t their match in terms of population, it’s gaining on them in terms of economic power and national importance.

In fact, we’re witnessing the start of Washington’s emergence as America’s new Second City.

Renn pins the city’s high-living ways on, among other things, higher real estate prices and new residents. But it’s no coincidence his article features an illustration of what looks like a giant vulture hanging around the Lincoln Memorial—-Renn thinks Washington is a BoomTown, an “imperial city” sucking the rest of the country dry:

Even more than the old leaky-bucket system did, the regulatory superstate depends on inflicting pain on the rest of the country, pain that only Washington itself can relieve—if you pay up and have the right connections, that is. Washington’s fortunes and America’s are increasingly at odds. The region is prospering because it’s becoming something that would have horrified the Founders: an imperial capital on the Potomac.

It’s remarkable to think that just last week we were an open sewer.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery.