The President went a little off-script the other day, saying that the private sector was "doing fine," then trying to clarify the statement by suggesting municipalities and states were in worse straits and thus in need of more handouts from Uncle Sugar.
Well, I found one of the spots where the private sector is indeed doing fine: Tysons Corner, Virginia. The Beltway was packed at 10 a.m. - below posted speed for a while - with a heavy mix of out-of-area license plates, likely heading for vacation spots and suffering through DC traffic.
The mall itself had no shortage of customers before lunch, and was nearly impassible after lunch. People weren't simply looking, either; nearly everyone was weighted down with packages. I'm a bad judge of prices, but the stores didn't seem to be giving things away. (On the other hand, Nordstrom was having its semi-annual sale, which no doubt helped draw in shoppers.) The restaurants were doing well, too.
(As an aside, I had a lovely chat with the young lady working at Teavana. It was nice to see someone who was knowledgeable about her products and who seemed happy to be at work.)
I made a stop in the Apple store - the original Apple store, in fact - and had lust in my heart for some of the products, though I left empty-handed. Amusingly, about two hours later I found myself passing the first Microsoft store I had seen. I wish I had taken a picture, but the, um, inspiration for the design of the store was clear. I suppose imitation is still the most sincere form of flattery. I looked at one of the Windows phones (interesting OS, but the build quality seemed flimsy) and at some of the PCs, but I don't really see what's in it for Microsoft. Unless the hardware vendors are kicking in some of the cost of the stores, Microsoft seems to be spending a lot of money in a high-rent area to showcase hardware made primarily by other firms.
Anyway, it's nice to know that some people are doing well. Of course, a lot of the wealth in the area revolves around Federal government spending, so the party may not last forever.