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Development

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…

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…

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…

The Fight Against Gravity

The Trump Administration wants to bolster industries that are market failures, with coal as an example.  Catherine Rampell writes of that effort in The Trump administration learns that fighting gravity is hard: The Trump administration is learning that, as new data show that the industries it has worked hardest to prop up — through bailouts, tariffs…

‘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 Outrage of Corporate Welfare (Amazon, Foxconn, and others)

You may have heard by now that Amazon’s new headquarters will soon call the New York and Washington, D.C., metropolitan areas home. This decision has engendered much criticism. But the Atlantic staff writer Derek Thompson doesn’t think the vitriol is enough. “We should all be screaming mad about the state of corporate handouts in this country,” Thompson…

Foxconn Roundup: Outside Work and Local Land

Foxconn’s boosters each day inch closer to a corporate welfare version of Scientology: it doesn’t make any sense, but adherents keep to themselves and repeat a shared list of crackpot claims. The latest news to pierce the cultists’ bubble: Molly Beck and Rick Romell report Wisconsin taxpayers could pay Foxconn for work done outside of Wisconsin,…

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…

Foxconn Roundup: Indiana Layoffs & Automation Everywhere

A sensible person would never have listened to a Walker Administration operative in Whitewater tout Foxconn without laughing or looking about for a nearby tomato.  No sensible person would have made that operative a guest speaker at an annual dinner or written about the event without criticism.  (See, about that Greater Whitewater Committee dinner and that…

Foxconn Roundup: Desperately Ill Edition

Before and after the recent election, solid assessments on Foxconn came to press, and they confirm how irrational and wasteful is that project. Earlier this year, the local business lobby (the Greater Whitewater Committee) invited the state capitalist stooge official overseeing the project to a dinner in Whitewater. I’ve no idea whether Matt Moroney will show…

Foxconn: Failure & Fraud

There are two national publications with recent updates on the Foxconn project, and each report highlights fundamental problems with the billions in public subsidies for that foreign corporation. Here’s a roundup of the latest on this dodgy corporate welfare:   Bruce Murphy (writing online for national tech site The Verge) reports Wisconsin’s $4.1 Billion Foxconn Boondoggle (“Gov.…

In Whitewater and Elsewhere, Employment’s Only Part of the Story

 In times of high unemployment, of course it makes sense to get people back to work. Jobs, jobs, jobs isn’t a bad mantra when people don’t have work.  (Work isn’t simply about an income, but a place in society.)  Today is not, however, the Great Depression. Listen to ‘development professionals’ go on about job-creation at…

Foxconn’s Predatory Reliance on Eminent Domain

Taiwanese-owned Foxconn is relying on eminent domain to seize Wisconsinites’ private homes for the sake of that foreign company’s project. Principles of eminent domain, sadly, have been vastly increased since a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision expanded government’s power to take from ordinary homeowners, among others. Those expanded governmental powers mean that residents who lose their…