Seattle can make efforts on the margins — and hope it doesn’t kill the golden goose in the private sector. But most reforms and reconstructing the social contract must happen on a national scale.

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I’ve never lived in a city that was so cranky and angst-ridden about its spectacular economic success.

But I’ve never lived in a city with such a politically potent and energetic liberal-left cohort at a moment of some national progressive stirring, especially with the presidential candidacy of Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Thus, some argue a direct connection between the region’s strength as a technology sector and the rise in the broadly defined “homeless” population. To wonder how much spending and policies — “Free-attle” — are adding to and perpetuating the problem is an unpopular avenue of inquiry.

Set that incendiary topic aside this week. More broadly, Seattle’s boom has indeed coincided with many being left behind. The two have gone together. The rising tide has not lifted all boats.

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Seattle and much of the region far outpaces the nation in most measures of economic well-being. Yet from the brink of the Great Recession to 2013, the most recent year available, the number of people in King County receiving food stamps more than doubled — to nearly 239,000 — and stayed high.

The rub here, at a time when inequality is worsening, is that many of these people have jobs, but their wages are poor. Some big employers in essence socialize their costs (with Medicaid, too) while privatizing the profits.

As of 2014, the county’s poverty rate was 11.3 percent compared with 7.2 percent in 2000. The number was 14 percent for the city.

No wonder the Seattle City Council passed a law to raise the minimum wage to $15 over the next several years. Contrary to much conservative blogging, no evidence has yet emerged that it is killing jobs here.

Yet some perspective is needed.

For example, San Bernardino County in California, about the same population as King but lacking our diverse, high-end economy, had significantly higher numbers of people on food stamps and in poverty.

According to a new report from the Economic Innovation Group, Seattle had only a small proportion of its population in “distressed communities.” Looking in depth at inequality, Seattle scored only modestly into “prosperous and unequal” territory compared to its peers. (Most cities were deemed “distressed and unequal.”)

The few that landed in “prosperous and equal” were almost all relatively homogeneous suburbs, such as Gilbert, Ariz., and Plano, Texas. They don’t offer any best practices to a big city.

In 2014, 72.2 percent of Seattle’s population over age 16 was in the labor force, compared with 63.5 percent for the nation, according to the Census.

This won’t stop the controversy and questions. Geek­Wire reported that Redfin sponsored a discussion last month on “whether the tech companies that have brought rapid economic change to Seattle also have a responsibility to help keep the city affordable and livable for all residents.”

Nela Richardson, Redfin chief economist and a self-described fan of the tech sector, said, “I just wish that tech companies would pay their taxes. Let’s start there. A lot of them are keeping money abroad so that they don’t have to pay taxes — national, state or local. So I think if we start with just paying taxes, we might get a first step in paying dues in terms of being a responsible member of a community.”

Other people I hear from would demand more, and they are not alone.

The Brookings Institution released a report last week that urges a drastic shift in economic-development policies to make prosperity more inclusive. It will be of limited use here. The city already “grows from within” rather than spending heavily on incentives to lure new companies. It already has a strong trade footprint.

The report doesn’t mention progressive measures that might shift the needle, such as a return to progressive taxation, backing away from trade deals that hurt American manufacturing jobs, taxing Wall Street’s gambling and encouraging unions. These are policies that would require national action, and progressives would have to win many elections and court battles to make them happen.

I’m not sure America can return to 1960. The country is so ideologically divided that even a no-brainer to goose growth — at least to me — such as aggressive investment in infrastructure is impossible.

Meanwhile, a push to make companies be better stewards of the common good runs up against the corporate priority of maximizing shareholder value, a shift that has been happening since the 1980s.

So as much as the debate about rising inequality dominates the Seattle public square, the city is not hermetically sealed from the world.

Seattle can make efforts on the margins — and hope it doesn’t kill the golden goose in the private sector. But most reforms and reconstructing the social contract must happen on a national scale.

Don’t look for economics to provide airtight answers, either.

There’s a reason the discipline was once called “political economy” or “moral philosophy.”

This is an argument that is far from settled.