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Economics

Federal Reserve Chair Powell’s Interview on Economic Recovery

Last night, 60 Minutes broadcast an interview with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell in which Powell discussed current economic conditions and prospects for recovery. (Powell sat for the interview on Wednesday, 5.13.20 with Scott Pelley of CBS News.)  The interview is available online, as is a transcript. Below are excerpts from the transcript (although Powell’s…

Boosterism, ’30s Style

Although the Roosevelt Administration was (whatever its other mistakes) candid about the economic conditions it faced, there was in the ’30s, as there has been over the 2010s in Wisconsin, a delusional impulse to happy talk – regardless of economic conditions – among some politicians and some business groups. Margaret Bourke-White‘s Kentucky Flood depicts the…

Public Policy Responses to the Coronavirus: ‘You have to address the health side’

Economist Austan Goolsbee offers three scenes, in his words, for addressing the coronavirus pandemic. All three, in the order he presents them, are sound. Most economic schools of thought – and all sound ones across the continuum – would consider something like his suggestions in response to a pandemic. One obvious note – or at…

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…

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…

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…

Brain Drain Plagues Key USDA Research Service After Trump Administration Orders Relocation

When the Trump administration relocated the United States Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service to the Kansas City area last year, about two-thirds of its employees quit their jobs rather than move. Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, called the mass resignations a “wonderful way to streamline the government.” These departures have…

‘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…

Market-Hating Republicans Have Been a Local Problem for Years

George Will, writing in the Washington Post, observes that Josh Hawley sounds like he has far too much faith in government: The sails of [Republican] Sen. Josh Hawley’s political skiff are filled with winds gusting from the right. They come from conservatives who think that an array of — perhaps most of — America’s social injuries,…

But, but, but…we were promised growth, growth, growth!

Locally, statewide, and nationally, Trump & those who flacked his tax bill, and those who also pushed corporate welfare schemes (Foxconn, WEDC, Whitewater CDA), promised growth, growth, growth! How odd that these men — politicians, movers-and-shakers, developers, landlords, and public relations types — seem to have missed the mark: The World Bank sees U.S. growth stumbling from…

Journal Sentinel’s Rick Romell Reports the Obvious about Foxconn Project

Over at the Journal Sentinel, business reporter Rick Romell reports that More signs emerge that the pace of Foxconn’s Wisconsin project is falling short of expectations. Honest to goodness – there have been years of reports, and years of analyses, that made clear to any reasonable person that this project was destined for failure. Anyone and…

Foxconn: State of Wisconsin Demands Accountability, Foreign Corporation Stalls

There’s a significant new development in the Foxconn project: the state has told the Taiwanese corporation it’s presently no longer eligible for tax credits. Over at The Verge, a national technology publication, there’s an excellent, detailed story about Foxconn’s serial excuses to receive the public money or credits it wants regardless of performance. In an…