The Price of Trumpism is Ruin

Craig Gilbert looks at the careers of Priebus, Ryan, and Walker: They led the “Cheesehead Revolution,” the GOP’s audacious conquest of Wisconsin. They offered a model for bridging Republican frictions between establishment and base. They became national figures. They ran into Donald Trump. They suffered. They bent to his rise. Now one (Priebus) has left […]

A Sham News Story on Foxconn

About a month ago, a local business lobbying group in Whitewater invited an operative of the Walker Administration to the city to talk about Foxconn. The nearby Jefferson County Daily Union sent a stringer to cover the presentation. See Foxconn impact outlined in Whitewater. In the 38-paragraph story, the paper simply reproduces – without the […]

Foxconn as Alchemy: Magic Multipliers

The Foxconn plant isn’t even built yet, but the Walker Admin and its allies (including a few local apologists for corporate welfare in Whitewater) now resort to fantastic, magical claims about how much economic development will come from nearly four billion in taxpayer subsidies. So magical, so fantastic, that they now claim an 18-1 multiplier […]

A Telling Comparison

People in small towns, nearly everywhere in this country, have access to national programming & news on television and online. As easily as one could subscribe online to something like the Janesville Gazette, one could subscribe to the Chicago Tribune or Washington Post. Imagine, then, a choice between editorials in the Gazette and the Post […]

Anti-Immigration Measures, Wrong Yet Again

Embed from Getty Images An anti-immigration position is for economics something like a flat-earth position would be for natural science: one may hold it only through either ignorance or disorder. (The ignorance would have  to be profound, as even the weakest grasp of economics would incline a rational person to acknowledge the benefits of a […]

Reading and Reviewing

There are two books I’m eager to review here at FW: Katherine Cramer’s Politics of Resentment: Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker (2016) and Amy Goldstein’s Janesville: An American Story (4.18.17).  Like many others, I’ve been awaiting Goldstein’s book for some time, knowing that significant works take time. For both books, […]

Plain-Spoken in a Small Town? Not Most Leaders

There’s a quaint – but false – notion that people in small towns are uncommonly plain-spoken, even blunt.  One sometimes sees examples of this in films or books, where residents are depicted as folksy straight-talkers (“shucks, I don’t cotton to no one abusing nobody,” etc.).  I’ve never heard anyone in Whitewater speak so colorfully, and I’ve […]

Rapid Over Gradual 

There’s a policy study out from Cato entitled, 25 Years of Reforms in Ex-Communist Countries: Fast and Extensive Reforms Led to Higher Growth and More Political Freedom (via pdf Oleh Havrylyshyn, Xiaofan Meng, and Marian L. Tupy, Cato Policy Analysis 795, 7.12.16). I finished it last night (the paper’s well-written, relatively brief, and persuasive). There’s […]

The Growth That Uplifts

In a recent interview, Ana Revenga, senior director of the World Bank’s Poverty and Equity Group, talks about ending extreme poverty.  See, Ending Extreme Poverty: World Bank Economist Ana Revenga @ The Christian Century. (The World Bank defines extreme poverty as living on less than $1.90 per person per day, and the article describes how […]

‘WEDC has been a disaster from the get-go’

After years of defending the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, one newspaper (out of several in the area) finally concedes the obvious:  ‘WEDC has been a disaster from the get-go.’ See, from 11.28.15, http://www.gazettextra.com/20151128/our_views_consider_two_steps_for_salvaging_state8217s_job_creation_agency, subscription req’d. Yes, it has been a disaster, as politicized intervention in the economy, to the benefit of one’s well-fed, white-collar executive […]

Boo! Scariest Things in Whitewater, 2015

Here’s the ninth annual FREE WHITEWATER list of the scariest things in Whitewater for 2015. The 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 editions are available for comparison. The list runs in reverse order, from mildly frightening to truly scary. 10. The Coming Ferret Invasion. Alternative title: The Unprepared Will Be Doomed.  Earlier this year, […]

The Rise and Fall of the Chinese Economy

You’ll find in the video above a concise, balanced assessment of China’s economic prospects from economist Tyler Cowen. The short-term is sure to be rocky, but there are good, long-term prospects for China. (Prof. Cowen doesn’t say so, but those long-term prospects are likely to include – indeed, to require – a China without the […]