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Patrolling the Downtown in Summer During a Great Recession

In our small town, with the added needs of customers at cafés during the summer, there is no reason leaders of our police department could not patrol regularly in the summer. If we are short-staffed, then those who lead might regularly walk through our downtown. To whom much is given, much is expected. Not the…

Declines, Recessions, and Rhetoric

While yesterday was a bad day for the financial markets, it’s the underlying – and troubling – fundamental condition of the economy that matters far more. Places like Whitewater, that adopted business special interests’ “if-you-build-it-they-will-come” approach despite increasing poverty and stagnation in household and individual incomes, are especially vulnerable to a downturn. Market Declines. Steven…

Richard Florida Discusses the Great Reset of Urban Development in Economic Downturns

Richard Florida, author of The Great Reset, discusses how this recession may change American life as did the depression of the 1870 and the Great Depression. Florida is interested in national trends, and especially the great cities of America. He contends that transportation infrastructure was, and may yet, be a good investment. Nonetheless, he acknowledges…

Daily Bread for 1.22.24: Wisconsin’s Favorable Employment Statistics

 Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of 33. Sunrise is 7:17 and sunset 4:55 for 9h 37m 18s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 89.9% of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Urban Forestry Commission meets at 4:30 PM and the Police & Fire Commission at 6 PM. The Whitewater School Board’s Policy Review Committee meets at 5:30 PM, and the full school board enters closed session shortly after 6:30 PM with open session scheduled at 7 PM.  

On this day in 1957, the New York City “Mad Bomber,” George P. Metesky, is arrested in Waterbury, Connecticut and charged with planting more than 30 bombs.


Employment levels remain positive for Wisconsin. Erik Gunn reports Wisconsin unemployment remains low in December as jobs continue to grow:

Wisconsin’s monthly employment snapshots finished the year with a new record for the number of jobs and an upbeat assessment from the state’s labor department.

A survey of employers projected a total of nearly 3.03 million jobs in Wisconsin in December 2023, according to the Department of Workforce Development (DWD).

Based on a separate survey of households, DWD projected an unemployment rate of 3.3%, the same as in November 2023. The unemployment rate calculates how many people are not working in the total labor force, which consists of people who are working or actively seeking work.

The data show Wisconsin employers and workers are “just continuing the trends we saw all year,” said DWD’s chief economist, Dennis Winters, at a media briefing Thursday. “And the way things are shaping up for 2024, we expect the same thing.”

The employers survey counted a total of 3,026,500 nonfarm jobs in Wisconsin in December, a gain of 80,000 from a year ago.

There is, however, a requirement to capitalize on the state’s improving outlook: it takes high-quality leaders and ideas to make the most of good times. 

Whitewater has been in this situation before, in 2020 before the pandemic, when local men looked around at a positive national and state economy and bemoaned better times had not reached Whitewater.

See Whitewater’s Still Waiting for That Boom:

“We’ve just had one of the most booming economies that this country’s seen in close to 60 years. And we’re not at the table. We’re not playing. We’re not out there.”

Well, yes. There was a national boom, uplifting many cities, but it passed by Whitewater. What did Whitewater get after the Great Recession, years into a national boom? Whitewater received a designation as a low-income community.  (The gentlemen speaking, these ‘Greater Whitewater’ development men, were by their own accounts at the center of local CDA policy during most of the years that the state and national boom ignored Whitewater.)

Leaders then were responsible for having positioned the city poorly. Once again: it takes high-quality leaders and ideas to make the most of good times. 


Fire breaks out at Russian gas terminal in Baltic Sea port:

Daily Bread for 11.28.23: Opportunity If We’ll Take It

 Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of 23. Sunrise is 7:03 and sunset 4:22 for 9h 19m 44s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 98.4% of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Finance Committee meets at 5 PM

  On this day in 1895, the first American automobile race takes place over the 54 miles from Chicago’s Jackson Park to Evanston, Illinois. Frank Duryea wins in approximately 10 hours.


  A 11.21.23 essay from Brookings by author Homi Kharas describes what fuels middle-class optimism. (Kharas has a new book, The Rise of the Global Middle Class, that I have not yet read. For today, this post confines itself to Kharas’s 11.21 essay.) 

Kharas notes the rise of a global middle class:

Joining the middle class has been a ticket to the good life for two centuries now, a history I trace in a new book “The Rise of the Global Middle Class.” The American Dream, the glorious years of European reconstruction after World War II, miracle economic growth in Japan and other East Asian countries, Xi Jinping’s great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, and India’s software revolution each brought hundreds of millions of people into the ranks of the global middle class. Today, thanks to this progress, most of the world, upwards of 4 billion people, enjoy a middle-class or better lifestyle for the first time ever.

Yes. (I’ll note that the period of China’s greatest economic success came only after liberalizing her economy toward freer markets, and that period of liberalization is regrettably over.)

Here’s how Kharas describes middle-class optimism:

Middle-class life satisfaction rests on two pillars. The first is the idea that hard work and self-initiative will lead to prosperity. The second is that thanks to this prosperity, the children of middle-class families will enjoy even more opportunities for the good life.

There’s a local aspect to this. To be successful, a community needs to have middle-class success. 

In Whitewater, CDA types in the decade from 2010-2020 failed to capitalize on state and national economic gains. See Whitewater’s Still Waiting for That Boom. (“While Wisconsin and America advanced, these gentlemen were left admitting reluctantly their own poor performance. (There was a national boom, uplifting many cities, but it passed by Whitewater. What did Whitewater get after the Great Recession, years into a national boom? Whitewater received a designation as a low-income community.  The gentlemen speaking, these ‘Greater Whitewater’ development men, were by their own accounts at the center of local CDA policy during most of the years that the state and national boom ignored Whitewater.) See also A Candid Admission from the Whitewater CDA (“This new EOZ program allows for private investments to be made, with significant tax benefits, in lower income communities like ours that need a boost to their economy,” said Larry Kachel, Chair of the Whitewater Community Development Authority (CDA).” Emphasis added.)

We have a chance for better. See A Development Director for Whitewater (“Whitewater’s development policy is meant to be a community development policy, not one captured against the public interest by a few. Who owns Whitewater? The proper answer — the answer suitable for a beautiful, well-ordered American town — is everyone and no one.”)


Rescued baby turtles scurry into the sea:

Boo! Scariest Things in Whitewater, 2023

Here’s the seventeenth annual FREE WHITEWATER list of the scariest things in Whitewater.  (The 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022 editions are available for comparison.) The list runs in reverse order, from mildly scary to truly frightening. 10. Bears. Look, I’ve warned the city — out of…

Daily Bread for 6.2.23: The May Jobs Report (and How to Think About These Big National Numbers)

Good morning. Friday in Whitewater will see afternoon clouds and scattered thundershowers with a high of 88. Sunrise is 5:18 AM and sunset 8:27 PM for 15h 09m 31s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 96.8% of its visible disk illuminated. On this day in 1924, President Coolidge signs the Indian Citizenship Act…