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Development

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…

Local Public Policy as if Charitable Assistance

Whitewater’s policymakers, and those of other small, rural cities, should – in these times of economic stagnation, a lingering opioid crisis, failed business welfare, and an approaching recession – view their principal obligation as if it were charitable outreach. (It’s not charity, of course, but that’s how policymakers should view it: as both palliative and…

Declines, Recessions, and Rhetoric

While yesterday was a bad day for the financial markets, it’s the underlying – and troubling – fundamental condition of the economy that matters far more. Places like Whitewater, that adopted business special interests’ “if-you-build-it-they-will-come” approach despite increasing poverty and stagnation in household and individual incomes, are especially vulnerable to a downturn. Market Declines. Steven…

Miscellany on Development Policy in Whitewater

There’s a significant difference between local, political calls for urgency and genuine need. Recent discussions about development policy in Whitewater only bolster this view. A few remarks (as I’ve been asked more than once what I think of the last two months’ events) — Independence. The best decision one could make when writing about policy…

Do Yorkshire Terriers Dream of Being Wolves?

Perhaps Yorkshire terriers dream each night of being ferocious wolves.  If that should be so, and if even tiny dogs imagine themselves as mighty predators, then there may be a natural explanation – in animals and people – for the yearning of smarmy local development men for gigantic corporate welfare schemes. Of those men and…

A Reminder About Opportunity Zones: Bad Policy Flacked Locally

Those following what passes for economic policy in Whitewater know that this website has been rightly critical of the economic opportunity zones that were part of Trump’s tax bill. See About that Trump Tax Bill, More About that Trump Tax Bill, and The Trump Tax Bill: That’s Not Reform. Jenny Schuetz, commenting on part of Trump’s…

‘But Not in Conditions of Their Own Choosing’

It’s a truism to say that all people make history, but not in conditions of their own choosing: Admittedly and sadly, the local boosterism of the pre-Trump years is now in retrospect worse than one might have initially believed: across America boosters who peddled false descriptions & junk solutions during the economic hardship of the…

Foxconn: ‘Innovation Centers’ Gone in a Puff of Smoke

Trump insisted Foxconn in Wisconsin would be the eighth wonder of the world, and smarmy development men in places like Whitewater spoke about how much would come of the project, but in a puff of smoke that project’s ‘innovation centers’ are gone. Nick Statt reports Foxconn finally admits its empty Wisconsin ‘innovation centers’ aren’t being…

Foxconn on the Same Day: Yes…um, just kidding, we mean no

One reads that in the course of a single day, Foxconn changed its plans for a major building at its Wisconsin site. Corrine Hess reports In A Day, Foxconn Changes Course, Plans To Build Different Mount Pleasant Building: This flashy building? Sorry, Wisconsin, you’re not getting this. Illustration via Mount Pleasant Development Dept. Foxconn’s plans to build a…

Be Patient, UW-Madison: Only $99,300,000.00 to Go!

If a group invited a guest speaker who said the world was flat, then that group would be rightly discarded as a credible policy advocate. In Whitewater and other towns, crony-capitalist groups of different sizes proudly declared the Foxconn project a boon for Wisconsin. (Trump, himself, declared it a boon for the whole planet: “the…

Trump Tax Bill is the Predictable Failure Sensible People Warned It Would Be

In Whitewater, there’s a business lobby that amounts to a right-wing landlord or two, the dogsbodies who follow three paces behind, and the municipal officials who have been, variously, beguiled or browbeaten into asserting that government-directed capital spending means general prosperity.  It doesn’t; it’s the great myth of municipal policy.  A building here, a building…

Foxconn: Hey, Wisconsin, How About an Airport-Coffee Robot?

In Whitewater, there’s a top-notch think tank right-wing landlord’s business group that flacked Foxconn both privately and through that group’s sway over the Whitewater Community Development Authority.  The group invited a state operative to spin Foxconn as a tech city of gold, and at the Whitewater CDA one could hear fantastic tales of high-tech wonders…

It Shouldn’t

Anna Clark (author of The Poisoned City: Flint’s Water and the American Urban Tragedy) asks Why should Wisconsin drain Lake Michigan for Foxconn?: The Great Lakes — five inland seas holding one-fifth of all the fresh water on Earth — are vast, but they are not limitless. So it is alarming that Wisconsin intends to send…