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The Reopening Debate Will Turn on Consumer Demand

The push to reopen Wisconsin will only effectively benefit retail businesses if consumer demand returns to pre-pandemic levels.  Consumer demand will only return to pre-pandemic levels if consumers feel safe.  Some retail demand will return as soon as shops and restaurants open; the marketplace question is whether consumer demand returns to something like pre-pandemic levels.…

That’s Not a ‘Community Grant’ – It’s Half-Off Advertising

One of the saddest traits of local newspapers is how those publications condescend to readers. Another example of this comes from the Janesville Gazette, where that publication is contending that half-off advertising is somehow a community grant. Splashed all over the webpage of that paper yesterday, one found ads for the so-called community grant program.…

Foxconn’s ‘Innovation’ Centers: Still Empty a Year Later

 Over at the national tech website The Verge, Nilay Patel reminds that a year later, Foxconn has still done nothing with the ‘innovation’ centers that foreign corporation promised it would open around the state. They’re still empty:    See FOXCONN’S BUILDINGS IN WISCONSIN ARE STILL EMPTY, ONE YEAR LATER. In Whitewater, the ‘Greater Whitewater’ Committee…

Netflix Documentary Series: Dirty Money (Season Two Now Online)

?? The overwhelming majority of people in America (and abroad) earn their money through honest means. A few, however, profit through fraud, self-dealing, outright theft, or selfish manipulation of laws and institutions. These few corrupt the public and private spheres they touch. Academy Award winning documentarian Alex Gibney’s second season of Dirty Money, now online…

Cashierless (and so Cashless)

One reads that Amazon has opened its first cashless, full-size grocery store in Seattle. See Amazon is opening its first full-size, cashierless grocery store. Here’s a first look inside. A few remarks: This is a technological achievement, and other companies are working along similar lines. No cashier means, definitionally, no cash transactions. That’s convenient for…

Local Government’s Failure to Speak Independently and Effectively

There’s a story at the Janesville Gazette that illustrates the inability of Whitewater, Wisconsin’s local government to communicate effectively on its own.  The story, primarily, is about the ongoing search for a stand-alone grocery store to come to Whitewater.  See Whitewater city manager remains ‘optimistic’ city will get a grocery store (Beleckis, reporter; Schwartz, editor). Routine,…

Government Breaks for Local Newspapers are a Bad, Bad Idea

There’s understandable worry that communities across America are losing their local newspapers, and so one hears that something simply must be done to save them.  Clara Hendrickson, in Local journalism in crisis: Why America must revive its local newsrooms, proposes that we (1) “provide public funding for local journalism” (via tax incentives, mainly), (2) “address…

Congressman F. James Sensenbrenner Thinks (or Hopes) You’re Ignorant or Stupid

Congressman F. James Sensenbrenner, the gerrymandered, septuagenarian multimillionaire whose district (the Fifth) stretches all the way down to Whitewater, must think (or hope) people are ignorant.  One can conclude as much because Sensenbrenner contends the reason he’s not attending impeachment hearings is because those hearings are not open to the public. Honest to goodness, Sensenbrenner must…

Public Money for Unskilled Manufacturing Jobs is Money Wasted

In times of historically low unemployment, communities are simply wasting public money when they subsidize unskilled manufacturing jobs.  The jobs, jobs, jobs mantra only makes sense in conditions of unemployment, unemployment, unemployment. Despite relatively low unemployment, ‘community development men’ in places like Whitewater still push business subsidies for companies using unskilled labor.  Pretending that dead-end…

Walker’s Fundamental Failure

Walker’s fundamental claim was that he would be a jobs creator, with a horde of operatives, development men, business insiders, and political cronies insisting that billions in state funds would somehow trickle down to create jobs. In his fundamental promise, Walker was a failure. Shawn Johnson reports Walker Never Reached 250,000 Jobs Created (‘Finalized statistics…

‘Stung by Trump’s Trade Wars, Wisconsin’s Milk Farmers Face Extinction’

After years of the ignorant scheming of tax incremental financing, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, capital catalyst grants, the Trump tax bill, and now Trump’s trade war, Alan Rappeport reports Stung by Trump’s Trade Wars, Wisconsin’s Milk Farmers Face Extinction (“The flagship industry in a pivotal swing state faces an economic crisis”): KENDALL, Wis. —…

Foxconn: The Closer One Gets, The Worse It Is

There is, about Foxconn in Wisconsin, a fair amount of ignorant insistence that there will be supply chain opportunities, etc. Public employees talking about the Foxconn project’s supposed benefit is the practical equivalent letting them recite limericks or play sheepshead: it’s not productive. For those near Foxconn, however, that project is more than wasteful talk:…