Dane, Not the WOW Counties

For many years, Republicans have railed against Madison, and against Dane County, as bastions of dysfunctional liberalism. Indeed, this impulse has been strong even after the GOP gained control of both chambers of the legislature and the governor’s office. Funny, though, that it’s Dane County – not the WOW counties of Waukesha, Ozaukee, or Washington – that’s […]

Care at the Point of Injury

A post from early December – ‘Don’t worry about them – the rest of us feel great!’ – outlined the problem of boosterism & babbittry: it urges people to look away from real injuries and to gaze instead on delightful distractions. First the problem summarized, then the better, ethical response – The problem: A doctor […]


Consider the contrast between how the Janesville Gazette‘s publisher want his city to be seen, and how an economics reporter describes the Janesville area: Janesville Gazette editorial, A question for Janesville to consider: [James] Fallows and his wife learned the differences between success and failure during a 54,000-mile journey across the United States in a single-engine […]

Ineffectual, Wasteful Infrastructure Ambitions

Randal O’Toole takes a look at a key part of the incoming administration’s economic policy, and sees the Trouble with Trump’s Infrastructure Ambitions.  There are, simply expressed, four problems: Not all spending of this kind is equally valuable: “Many advocates of infrastructure spending assume that all infrastructure contributes equally to economic vitality, but this is far […]

Inequality in the ‘Whitewater-Elkhorn’ Area

Over at the Economic Policy Institute, there’s a newly-published study of income inequality in America, and it ranks Walworth County as one of the most income-unequal places in the nation.  The study refers to the ‘Whitewater-Elkhorn’ metropolitan area, but with a population of 102,000, it’s clear that the reference is to Walworth County, using the […]

Whitewater’s True and Worthy Success

Post 6 in a weekly series. I posted last week about a State of the Schools presentation, and planned to follow this week with an assessment of that presentation, but there’s a more recent development that should – and so does – take precedence. On February 10th, one of Whitewater’s schools, Washington School, was named a Title […]

Theranos as a Cautionary Tale

Theranos is a much-hyped biomedical start-up that’s fallen in valuation and reputation (not always the same thing) following published doubts (e.g., @ Wall Street Journal, Fortune) about its supposedly revolutionary technology. Here’s the meaning of this story for Whitewater: Theranos had the participation (and attention) of some of the most gifted men and women in America, […]

Three Motivations for Local Government Intervention (and One That’s Sadly Missing)

In Whitewater, we’ve had any number of local projects, some involving millions, in a town of only thousands.   Broadly, one may assume three motivations for local intervention: (1) genuine if mistaken efforts at community betterment, (2) the vanity or economic interest of parties to a project, or (3) a desire to prevent demographic and […]

Assessing the Poverty Data for Our Area

On Friday, I posted on child poverty in our area.  The Great Recession took a toll on many cities, but undeniably so in ours: from 2007 to 2011, the number of children aged 5 to 17 in families in poverty rose from 9.89 to 17.9%.    The number nearly doubled.  Beyond that group, state measures classify an […]

Poverty in Our Area

Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates, for children aged 5 to 17 in families in poverty, rate as a percentage of all children that age: Delavan-Darien Edgerton Elkhorn Area Fort Atkinson Jefferson Milton Whitewater Area 2007 10.98 7.10 11.60 7.01 8.05 5.4 9.89 2008 11.90 8.22 15.28 8.78 […]