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Competition: Good for Individuals and Society

Pres. Biden plans measures to increase market competition. David Leonhardt reports Biden’s New Push (‘The U.S. economy suffers from a lack of competition. President Biden wants to change that’): The U.S. economy has been less dynamic in the 21st century, by many measures, than it was in the late 20th century. Fewer new businesses are starting.…

Foxconn: Seth Meyers on One of Trump’s (and Walker’s) Biggest Scams, the Foxconn Deal

The Wisconsin Foxconn project that Trump, Walker, and local development men touted was a house of cards, with each card in the deck no better than a three of spades. Their supposedly serious effort now finds itself a national punchline. Previously: 10 Key Articles About Foxconn, Foxconn as Alchemy: Magic Multipliers,  Foxconn Destroys Single-Family Homes, Foxconn Devours Tens of Millions from State’s…

Foxconn: New, More Realistic Deal Means 90% Reduction in Goals

After years of flamboyant lies about what Foxconn would be able to achieve in Wisconsin, there’s a new deal with that foreign corporation. That new arrangement reflects a reduction of 90% or more in what Wisconsin expects and what the state will offer. Local governments have already wasted millions on absurdly grandiose, false promises Not…

Local Politics Hasn’t Been Merely ‘Local’ for Years

Over at the Wisconsin Examiner, Henry Redman writes (with concern) that All politics is national (‘Candidates for local office are ignoring community issues, instead highlighting national culture wars’). First, Redman’s case, then a few remarks. Woodman [Kyle Woodman, a Republican running for Eau Claire’s city council] is part of a mostly conservative group of candidates…

Texas (But Not Only Texas): Regulatory Capture

Regulatory capture is a simple concept: it applies when regulatory agencies become dominated by the industries or interests they are by law required to regulate. These agencies begin to act to benefit particular incumbent firms or people in the industry they are supposed to be overseeing. The concept is also sometimes called agency capture or…

Whitewater Common Council Meeting, 1.19.21: 6 Points

The Whitewater Common Council met last night, 1.19.21. The agenda for the meeting is available. A few remarks, on selected items of the agenda —  1. Public Works Buildings. Whitewater plans to update its public works buildings, now scattered over a multi-acre plot near Starin Road. The total estimated price is high for a small town (about…

Markets and Markets

One reads that Whitewater now has an option, for most of the city, of grocery delivery from nearby cities. As it is, Whitewater has a Walmart, but no stand-alone, full-service grocery. Private delivery service is a benefit to the community. It’s better to have more grocery options than fewer. These are private enterprises providing private delivery…

Whitewater Common Council Meeting, 10.20.20: Basics and Buildings

The Whitewater Common Council met briefly last night, 10.20.20. The agenda for the meeting is available, and a recording of the session appears above. Two different topics are worth noting (for different reasons): autumn leaf collection and a building rehabilitation project. A few remarks —  1. Leaf collection. The city has many homes & apartments, the homes…

Highlight’s from The Verge’s Foxconn Assessment

No failure better reveals the bankruptcy of corporate welfare in the Walker and Trump years than the Foxconn project in Wisconsin: exaggeration upon exaggeration, but nothing productive. This was a failure of judgment so obvious and significant that everyone involved should retire from policymaking. Walker Administration, Trump Administration, the WISGOP, the WEDC, down to Whitewater’s Community…

Whitewater Common Council Meeting, 10.6.20: 9 Points

The Whitewater Common Council last met on 10.6.20. The agenda for the meeting is available, and a recording of the early October session appears above. (As always, the best record is a recording.) Council discussed, among other items, Trick or Treating during the pandemic, a preliminary city budget, whether to return to in-person council meetings,…

Accountability Comes Calling at Foxconn

After years of grandiose – ludicrous, truly – claims about Foxconn from Trump to Vos to boosters in Whitewater, Accountability has made her way to Foxconn. If not Accountability personified, then at least Missy Hughes (the new, Evers-appointed leader) of a slightly-reformed WEDC. Josh Dzieza of the national publication The Verge reports Wisconsin denies Foxconn tax…

Whitewater & Walworth County’s Working Poor, 2020 ALICE® Report

The 2020 ALICE® report, on those who are “asset limited, income constrained [yet] employed” is now available.  These latest data were collected before the recent recession – one can be sadly confident that hardship reaches farther now. For Wisconsin, 11% of households were below the poverty level, and 34% (including those below the poverty level) were…

A Key Difference Between Bristol, New Hampshire and Whitewater, Wisconsin

A sad story from April about Bristol, N.H. (population 3,300) reveals key differences between that town and Whitewater. While this new recession affects both communities, the economic hardship will be different.  See David Gelles, ‘This Is Going to Kill Small-Town America.’ Bristol depends on one major, private manufacturer: By the end of March, with just…

Built Against Substantive Change

Over time, no matter how small the city, national conditions and trends make their way to the edge of town. Some towns will address these conditions, but others will be resistant to substantive change. For those towns in the latter category, business as usual and rhetorical feints suffice in response to powerful forces to which…