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Economy

Foxconn Couldn’t Even Meet Its Low First-Year Goal

Here in Whitewater, the local private business lobby invited last year as a guest speaker a state operative to exaggerate wildly talk about Foxconn. See A Sham News Story on Foxconn. As it turns out, Foxconn hasn’t even been able to meet the low, first-year employment goals set for the publicly-subsidized project. Rick Rommel reports Foxconn falls…

‘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…

Political and Apolitical Means of Local Accomplishment

One test of an institution’s vitality is how eager people are to become members, and how interested a community is to learn who’s become a member. Strong institutions or organizations attract attention. When the institution is a city or county government, one looks to see who’s eager to run for office, and how many people…

The Broad Outlines of 2019

For many years, I would begin the year with predictions for the twelve months ahead.  Events since 2016 have made predictions harder,  but one can still discern some short-term developments for the city.  These prospects, of course, form an online of topics to ponder, and about which to write (often requiring that one return to the…

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,…

Reported Family Poverty in Whitewater Increased Over the Last Decade

Over the last ten years, while Wisconsin and America recovered from the Great Recession, in Whitewater poverty among families with children actually increased. The Great Recession – deep and painful for many, lasted from December 2007 to June 2009. Afterward, most parts of America saw recovery, sometimes slow, sometimes rapid, but recovery by either definition.  That’s why for…

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…

Pro-Trump Areas Worse Off Than Ever

Economics professor Anthony W. Orlando writes Is Trump country really better off under Trump? No. It’s falling further behind: Two years have passed since Donald Trump made his famous campaign promise in disaffected regions across the country: “We are going to start winning again!” For many voters who felt that they had lost ground in recent decades, the…

Once a Gerrymanderer…

Wisconsin, with a gerrymandered legislature and a crony capitalist, lame-duck governor, was never going to have an easy transition back to a tradition of democratically representative government and sound economic policy.  The men who engineered years of the wrong approach were never going to go gently to the political outer darkness that, deservedly, awaits them.…

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…

Dairy Farmers’ Struggles

The AP reports Farm bankruptcies on the rise in Upper Midwest: The number of farms filing for bankruptcy is increasing across the Upper Midwest, following low prices for corn, soybeans, milk and beef, according to a new analysis from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. The analysis found that 84 farms filed for bankruptcy in Wisconsin,…