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The WEDC Republicans

Writing yesterday at the New York Times, liberal economist and Nobel laureate Paul Krugman addressed economic challenges of rural communities in Getting Real About Rural America.  It is a blog post about which reasonable observers of any ideology – left, center, right, or libertarian –  could agree.  Krugman writes There’s nothing wrong with discussing these…

Foxconn: Behind Those Headlines

One reads that today Foxconn is promising a less advanced facility in Wisconsin by 2020, and today’s promise has captured a few headlines. The truth – even if Foxconn follows through on this latest promise – is an embarrassing retreat, as Bloomberg’s Tim Culpan observes: Sounds like it’s more than a year late, and well…

Non-College Men in the Labor Market

Adam Harris asks Where Have All the Men Without College Degrees Gone? (“Economists are trying to understand the steady decline of non-college-educated men in the labor market”): In the late 1960s, almost all prime-working-age men, typically defined as 25 to 54, worked—nearly 95 percent. That figure had dipped to 85 percent by 2015—a decline most acutely…

How Walker and Trump Destroyed Dairies in America’s Dairyland

One has heard so much these last eight years about how Wisconsin has been ‘open for business,’ and for Walker and the WEDC that has meant countless subsidies and tax breaks for conservatives’ preferred businesses. Walker was never a free-market man; his whole approach rested on state capitalism (government funding some producers) and crony capitalism…

Foxconn: Evidence of Bad Policy Judgment

From the moment then-Governor Walker signed the Foxconn deal, it was clear to national economists (from across the political spectrum) that it was a dubious idea. As the months wore on, one could find more – and detailed – critiques of the project. FREE WHITEWATER has post after post addressing these sound critiques. The posts…

Fruitless Embrace

Free-market economist Veronique de Rugy asks Why Are Republicans Embracing Economic State Planning?: China’s post-Mao economic boom has occurred only to the extent that the country became capitalist. With “Made in China 2025,” Beijing’s 2015 anticapitalist plan for an industrial policy under which the state would pick “winners,” China has taken a step back from capitalism. (It recently dropped the “Made…

The Middle Lane is a Dirt Road to Decay, Pt. 2

Last month, this site linked to media critic Margaret Sullivan’s observation that The media feel safest in the middle lane. Just ask Jeff Flake, John Kasich and Howard Schultz: Who is the media’s middle-lane approach actually good for? Not the public, certainly, since readers and viewers would benefit from strong viewpoints across the full spectrum…

Half-Right About the WISGOP

Thomas Edsall, writing in the New York Times, quotes Jerry Taylor and Will Wilkinson of the Niskanen Center think tank on Republicans’ political economics. Two quotes from Taylor Wilkinson stand out – one right, and one wrong (at least wrong for Wisconsin). From Will Wilkinson, a view of cultural issues’ importance: The G.O.P.’s success in…

Private Businesses Craving Public Money

A private group may invite whom it wishes, but the guests invited tell much about the organization doing the inviting. Long years ago, straining even the finest recollection, private businesses relied on their own efforts for success (or so one has heard).  Look about now, even in small and struggling places, and one finds well-fed…

Foxconn: When the Going Gets Tough…

The national press has reported extensively, and critically, on the Foxconn project. National technology site The Verge (part of Vox Media) has also noticed how local officials who flacked this project day and night are now, well, quieter. Nilay Patel writes Let’s all watch the Wisconsin local news desperately try to get answers about Foxconn:…

‘Inside Wisconsin’s Disastrous $4.5 Billion Deal With Foxconn’

The published case against Foxconn – with reporting & analysis from some of America’s finest journalists and economists – is overwhelming. Their careful, published work has set out the plain facts for well over a year. And yet, as a multi-billion dollar public failure, there are even more startling accounts still emerging. Austin Carr reports…

Foxconn: The ‘State Visit Project’

Willy Shih, of Harvard Business School, writes that Foxconn’s Wisconsin Factory Is What The Chinese Call A ‘State Visit Project’: Last week I wrote that Foxconn’s giant flat-screen factory in Wisconsin was facing an economic reality check, and might not get built after all. On Friday, after a call between Foxconn chairman Terry Gou and President Donald Trump,…

Crops in a Business Park

It’s right to make bids for government services, just as it’s right to mitigate losses or vacancies. Yet, for it all, it’s telling that Whitewater’s Community Development Authority has so much vacant business space that it leases the empty lots out for cropland. The Community Development Authority of the City of Whitewater, Wisconsin (“CDA”) is…

Laughable Spin as Industrial Policy

Alternative Title: Oh, no baby, of course I still love you…  Josh Dzieza reports After a ‘personal conversation’ with Trump, Foxconn says it will build a factory in Wisconsin after all (At some point…): Days after Foxconn’s Louis Woo told Reuters that the company is no longer planning to build a factory in Wisconsin, Foxconn says the factory plan…