The Mercantilist

Veronique de Rugy contends that one should take Trump at his word on trade.  It’s doubtful that anyone should take Trump’s word for anything, but that’s too literal a reading of her claim.  She’s right that, in effect, Trump truly opposes free trade no matter what he says: As we embark on a trade war, let’s […]

Promising Gain, Delivering Loss

Here in the Midwest, in America’s Dairyland, in a small college town surrounded by farms, Trumpism’s economic promises, never likely to do a body good, now slowly curdle: U.S. business groups say hundreds of thousands of American jobs are at stake as newly imposed trade barriers cause an abrupt slowdown of cross-border trade. The fallout is […]

Tales of Unrequited Support

Wisconsinites who went for Trump now find themselves economically disadvantaged despite their support.  It’s become an international tale: how some residents of America’s Dairyland foolishly hoped for better from Trump and now find themselves experiencing worse: Plymouth, Wisconsin, styles itself as “the cheese capital of the world”. The town of 8,445 people, about an hour north […]

Foxconn’s Bait & Switch

It’s a groundbreaking ceremony for (a much smaller) Foxconn today.  This very morning one reads confirmation – yet again – that taxpayers’ billions for Foxconn are paying for a project that’s now a giant bait & switch. Rick Romell reports Foxconn scales back plans for its first factory in Mount Pleasant: The Foxconn Technology Group manufacturing […]

Foxconn’s Shabby Workplace Conditions

One reads that God, hearing the grumblings of the ancient Israelite community, once fed that people: 11 The LORD said to Moses: 12 I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them: In the evening twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will have your fill of bread, and then you will know that I, […]

Foxconn’s Ambition is Automation, While Appeasing the Politically Ambitious

If there’s ever been an economic con, it’s Foxconn in Wisconsin. The Financial Times describes two key aspects of Foxconn’s character, in a story, Foxconn shifts focus to ‘smart manufacturing.’ Automation, Not Jobs. The new reporting tells us that Foxconn’s working for “automating other manufacturers’ processes.”  Of course they are: they’ve a whole business producing robots […]

A Metaphor for Trump’s Trade Policy

Wisconsin businesses are bracing themselves for European Union retaliation against Trump’s trade tariffs (“Harley-Davidson motorcycles, dairy products, ginseng, cranberries and other Wisconsin goods are likely to feel the sting of retaliation from steep tariffs announced Thursday by the White House on foreign metals”). Meanwhile, there’s no better visual metaphor for the difference between Trump’s trade […]

Foxconn in Wisconsin: Not So High Tech After All

Lauly Li, Cheng Ting-Fang, and Gen Nakamura report Foxconn opts to make smaller displays at Wisconsin plant: OSAKA/TAIPEI — Hon Hai Precision Industry, better known as Foxconn Technology Group, is considering producing small to midsized displays for Apple, automakers and others at its $10 billion factory planned for the U.S. state of Wisconsin, people familiar with the […]

Coerced Beauty Isn’t Beautiful

  For a thousand years, some men in China insisted that a woman wasn’t beautiful, desirable, and worthy unless her feet had been bound into an unnatural and distorted form. Rather than allow women to develop normally, these men insisted that their own imposed desires were superior to the natural feminine form.  The price of […]

Two Truths of Whitewater’s Economy

  There are two truths of Whitewater’s economy, each fundamental and each a refutation to the last generation’s myth-making. For today, it’s enough to list the two fundamental truths.   Large Public Projects Haven’t Overcome Weak Household-Income Levels in Whitewater. This is true both in aggregate, and for age brackets (children, adults 35-64) not representative […]

About that Trump Tax Plan

In Whitewater, by press release (twice), one can read about the supposed benefits of the Trump tax plan. The Whitewater Community Development Authority’s executive director, Dave Carlson, was quick to push a portion of the plan as good for Whitewater. In doing so, he conceded what anyone observing Whitewater with care and concern already knew: […]

Even Foxconn’s Projections Show a Vulnerable (Replaceable) Workforce

Here in Whitewater, one has heard the most optimistic (indeed, truly fantastic) projections for Foxconn’s employment opportunities. Look more closely, however, and even under Foxconn and state officials’ self-interested projections on behalf of the project, many of the projected employees will be entry-level workers, as Rick Romell reports: But there’s another aspect of the 22-million-square-foot […]

Whitewater Listed as the Poorest City in Wisconsin

Samuel Stebbins and Michael B. Sauter, from 24/7 Wall Street, report Which town in your state is the poorest? Here is the list @ Gannett’s USA Today. For Wisconsin, they contend it’s Whitewater: Town median household income: $30,934 State median household income: $54,610 Town poverty rate: 38.2% Town population: 14,840 Whitewater has both the lowest median household income and the […]

A Candid Admission from the Whitewater CDA

Sometimes, however rarely, even in places with the most stubborn boosterism, an official admits – wittingly or unwittingly – the failure of longstanding policy. Dave Carlson, executive director of the Whitewater Community Development Authority, is such an official. In a press release from March 27th, lauding a provision of the Trump tax bill, Carlson quotes […]