FREE WHITEWATER

Economy

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…

Non-College Men in the Labor Market

Adam Harris asks Where Have All the Men Without College Degrees Gone? (“Economists are trying to understand the steady decline of non-college-educated men in the labor market”): In the late 1960s, almost all prime-working-age men, typically defined as 25 to 54, worked—nearly 95 percent. That figure had dipped to 85 percent by 2015—a decline most acutely…

How Walker and Trump Destroyed Dairies in America’s Dairyland

One has heard so much these last eight years about how Wisconsin has been ‘open for business,’ and for Walker and the WEDC that has meant countless subsidies and tax breaks for conservatives’ preferred businesses. Walker was never a free-market man; his whole approach rested on state capitalism (government funding some producers) and crony capitalism…

Foxconn: Evidence of Bad Policy Judgment

From the moment then-Governor Walker signed the Foxconn deal, it was clear to national economists (from across the political spectrum) that it was a dubious idea. As the months wore on, one could find more – and detailed – critiques of the project. FREE WHITEWATER has post after post addressing these sound critiques. The posts…

The Middle Lane is a Dirt Road to Decay, Pt. 2

Last month, this site linked to media critic Margaret Sullivan’s observation that The media feel safest in the middle lane. Just ask Jeff Flake, John Kasich and Howard Schultz: Who is the media’s middle-lane approach actually good for? Not the public, certainly, since readers and viewers would benefit from strong viewpoints across the full spectrum…

Half-Right About the WISGOP

Thomas Edsall, writing in the New York Times, quotes Jerry Taylor and Will Wilkinson of the Niskanen Center think tank on Republicans’ political economics. Two quotes from Taylor Wilkinson stand out – one right, and one wrong (at least wrong for Wisconsin). From Will Wilkinson, a view of cultural issues’ importance: The G.O.P.’s success in…

Immigration as a Community Lifeline

Art Cullen writes Help wanted: Rural America needs immigrants: President Trump argues that keeping immigrants and refugees out of our country is a matter of vital national security. He has made it his campaign thesis and shut down the government over it. Here in Storm Lake, Iowa, where the population is about 15,000 and unemployment is under…

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…

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,…

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…

Lost Homes and Land, All Over a Foxconn Fantasy

Wisconsin State Senator Jon Erpenbach reminds that people lost homes and land over the Foxconn proposal, and communities spent far over one-hundred millions on an idea that was – to any reasonable, discerning person – doomed to fail. Doomed to fail: dozens of analyses and warnings from across America, of which merely one is Tim Culpan’s Wisconsin…