FREE WHITEWATER

Demographics

Accreditation in Context

There is a liturgical tradition in which parishioners reflect on what they have done and what they have left undone.  A secular equivalent for Whitewater would ask a policymaker to consider not merely what has been done so many times before, but what might – and should have been – done, years ago and now.…

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,…

‘Our Guy’ Isn’t Our Guy

Some months ago, in a radio interview to tout part of the Trump tax bill, the Whitewater Community Development Authority’s executive director Dave Carlson referred to Congressman F. James Sensenbrenner as ‘our guy.’ Sensenbrenner, a pro-Trump septuagenarian multimillionaire from a gerrymandered district, is – literally – Whitewater’s federal representative. Sensenbrenner has never been – and…

The ‘Real’ Residents

Emily Badger reports Are Rural Voters the ‘Real’ Voters? Wisconsin Republicans Seem to Think So: In much of Wisconsin, “Madison and Milwaukee” are code words (to some, dog whistles) for the parts of the state that are nonwhite, elite, different: The cities are where people don’t have to work hard with their hands, because they’re collecting…

Her Loss is America’s Gain

Laura Ingraham: "The America we know and love doesn't exist anymore. Massive demographic changes have been foisted on the American people, and they are changes that none of us ever voted for, and most of us don't like … this is related to both illegal and legal immigration" pic.twitter.com/s5G2qIY4W0 — Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) August 9,…

Coerced Beauty Isn’t Beautiful

 

For a thousand years, some men in China insisted that a woman wasn’t beautiful, desirable, and worthy unless her feet had been bound into an unnatural and distorted form.

Rather than allow women to develop normally, these men insisted that their own imposed desires were superior to the natural feminine form.  The price of this imposition was a woman crippled and dependent for life.

If it should be true – and it is – that big-ticket projects in Whitewater have failed the fundamental test of community development (improvement of widespread personal and household economic well-being), then what shall one say of a generation’s efforts in that regard?

If it should be true – and it is – that unfettered demand heavily favors rental housing over single-family units in Whitewater, then what shall one say of a generation’s obsession with promoting a less favored arrangement over a more popular one?

It’s fair to say that some in Whitewater have supported these efforts in the belief that such programs might somehow make life better here. Such support, running contrary to the free, voluntary consumer demand in the whole area, might have been well-meaning, but was no less misguided.

For others, however, there must have been – and must be – some awareness, either partial or complete, that their efforts could – and can – neither meaningfully improve individual well-being nor change appreciably the overall housing stock of the city.

Empty programs attract notice that diverts attention from actual needs, and send resources in the wrong direction.

Community development in Whitewater, as it has been publicly advanced for the last few decades, looks nothing like the development of personal and household economic well-being.  Time and again, public resources have been directed at the bidding of a private business lobby.  Indeed, Whitewater’s Community Development Authority looks as much like a private 501(c)(6) business league as anything else.

Perhaps some in this city can’t imagine otherwise, in the way that years ago some men in China couldn’t imagine beauty unbound.

When the Whitewater CDA’s executive director rattles off an alphabet soup of public agencies to meddle in the marketplace, he’s parroting the sham capitalism so popular among fast-talking officials statewide.  State &  crony capitalism have the same relationship to free-market capitalism as pig Latin has to genuine Latin: they share some of the same letters, but mean very different things.

For a fraction of the public funds wasted on sketchy tech ideas and out-of-town businesses wandering nomadically for a handout, our city might have developed directed programs for the poor, and for in-town enterprises.

If it’s ‘community-minded’ to spread economic myths and reinforce empty boosterism, then to be community-minded has an unworthy meaning.

There is, of course, community happily to be found now in Whitewater, but it rests in private undertakings, apart from those who have directed public institutions to narrow and futile ends.

PreviouslyTwo Truths of Whitewater’s Economy.

Two Truths of Whitewater’s Economy

  There are two truths of Whitewater’s economy, each fundamental and each a refutation to the last generation’s myth-making. For today, it’s enough to list the two fundamental truths.   Large Public Projects Haven’t Overcome Weak Household-Income Levels in Whitewater. This is true both in aggregate, and for age brackets (children, adults 35-64) not representative…

As We Are

One begins – with optimism – from where one is. A community is much more than demographics, of course, but we are much less than we could be if we do not consider our circumstances using the best available measurements. Acting by and for a part, rather than the whole, is a common-yet-debilitating policy mistake.…

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…

The Planning of the Planning Commission’s Subcommittee

Whitewater’s Planning Commission Subcommittee on Housing recently met on 1.17.18. They had single-family homes and rental properties on their minds.  (The discussion is embedded below, and the city’s file is online.) One could have had this same housing discussion ten or fifteen years ago, and yet, and yet – here we are, ten or fifteen…

Contrast

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…

Area Population, Properly Understood

There’s an unfortunately misleading story from the Lake Geneva Regional News, picked up uncritically at the Banner, on a population increase for Walworth County and part of Whitewater. See “Walworth County population is up — here and there.” The story (1) cites a tiny population increase, (2) ignores relative trends entirely, and (3) leaves readers (and…