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Free Markets

Competition: Good for Individuals and Society

Pres. Biden plans measures to increase market competition. David Leonhardt reports Biden’s New Push (‘The U.S. economy suffers from a lack of competition. President Biden wants to change that’): The U.S. economy has been less dynamic in the 21st century, by many measures, than it was in the late 20th century. Fewer new businesses are starting.…

The System Balks

For eight years, there has been a state-imposed price freeze for in-state UW System tuition.  (This restriction applied to UW-Whitewater as a System school.) The WISGOP wanted this freeze, and it has lingered since Walker’s defeat in 2018. During its imposition, administrators complained about the freeze, and rightly so: price freezes, even short-term ones, are a…

Businesses, Workers, Goods, and Services

Over at Dan Shafer’s Recombobulation Area, guest columnist Shawn Phetteplace reminds us that WMC Doesn’t Speak for All Businesses. Phetteplace, the state manager for the Main Street Alliance, writes that When former Gov. Scott Walker declared Wisconsin “Open for Business,” what he meant was it was open for deregulation, tax cuts, and special deals to…

Texas (But Not Only Texas): Regulatory Capture

Regulatory capture is a simple concept: it applies when regulatory agencies become dominated by the industries or interests they are by law required to regulate. These agencies begin to act to benefit particular incumbent firms or people in the industry they are supposed to be overseeing. The concept is also sometimes called agency capture or…

Buy Local Will Change

The pandemic has made takeout and delivery more valuable than ever, not only for convenience but also for reduced exposure. In larger cities, some changes to restaurant delivery (among other services) have been building for years, and are likely to be permanent. See Heated patios, QR code menus and pop-ups: Milwaukee restaurants got innovative during…

Markets and Markets

One reads that Whitewater now has an option, for most of the city, of grocery delivery from nearby cities. As it is, Whitewater has a Walmart, but no stand-alone, full-service grocery. Private delivery service is a benefit to the community. It’s better to have more grocery options than fewer. These are private enterprises providing private delivery…

The Price of Ignorance is Widely Paid

As nationwide chains take sensible measures to require masks, ordinary workers at those chains find themselves the underserving recipients of abuse. Kelli Weill reports Walmart Workers Are Terrified of Enforcing Mask Rules: Even in a time of record unemployment, some of Dan’s colleagues at an Indiana Walmart have walked off the job. They aren’t quitting over…

Consumer Sentiment

Much of the ‘reopening’ advocacy rests on the idea that after allowing a business to reopen, that business will see an adequate return of customers. While some businesses may see adequate customer demand, it’s almost certain that others will not. It has never been true that simply opening a business would assure its survival. If…

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…

Pro-Market

There is an issue that – while extremely important today – receives too little attention not only in the traditional media but also in the blogosphere, and academia: the subversion of competition by special interests. Following Adam Smith, the vast majority of economists believe that competition is the essential ingredient that makes a market economy…

Does Anyone at the Janesville Gazette Have a Dictionary?

Recently,  the Janesville Gazette‘s editorialist tried to defend remarks from Trump’s secretary of agriculture, Sonny Perdue, about the demise of family farmers. See Our Views: Ag secretary’s reality check wasn’t callous. In that defense, one finds that the Gazette‘s editorialist neither understands the meaning of simple English words nor basic economics. The secretary of agriculture said…

F. James Sensenbrenner Heads for the Exit

One reads that F. James Sensenbrenner, the pro-Trump septuagenarian multimillionaire congressman from a gerrymandered district that stretches all the way down to Whitewater, is retiring when his current term ends. Consigned to the minority forever must look unappealing. How time flies! It was not long ago that then-chairman of the Whitewater Community Development Authority was scampering…