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The Walker Cabinet Officers’ Open Letter

Four cabinet secretaries of the Walker Administration have come forward to criticize the governor, and three of them have co-written an open letter against Walker’s relentless emphasis on political gain over sound policies. One of the signatories of the letter is Paul Jadin, who was Walker’s first Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation leader. It says all…

The Theory of Moral Sentiments and the Morality of Markets

In Five myths about capitalism, Steven Pearlstein describes the primary myth as a misunderstanding about motivations of those choosing freely in the marketplace (broadly understood, these choices are about not only capital, but also labor or goods): Myth No. 1: Greed, a natural human instinct, makes markets work. Adam Smith, the father of economics, first pointed out in his…

The Trump Tax Bill: The Illusory Pay Bump

In the spring, before and after a local election, the Whitewater Community Development Authority issued two press releases praising a part of the Trump tax bill as good for Whitewater.  CDA executive director Dave Carlson presumably wrote the releases, and Larry Kachel, the CDA chairman, stars in one of them as offering gratitude for gerrymandered congressman…

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…

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:…

Owner-Occupied Housing in the Whitewater Area

During these years I have written, and long before, one has heard from local officials and residents that the City of Whitewater needs more single-family housing. Single-family housing is a kind of owner-occupied housing (e.g., one owner, two adult owners, a single-family). Indeed, one hears that the City of Whitewater needs more single-family housing the…

Dane, Not the WOW Counties

For many years, Republicans have railed against Madison, and against Dane County, as bastions of dysfunctional liberalism. Indeed, this impulse has been strong even after the GOP gained control of both chambers of the legislature and the governor’s office. Funny, though, that it’s Dane County – not the WOW counties of Waukesha, Ozaukee, or Washington – that’s…

Canadian Milk Producers Seek Regulatory Help to Defeat American Competition

The video below, from the Journal Sentinel, describes how Canadian dairy farmers, unable to compete in the market with Wisconsin & New York dairies, have sought regulatory help from the Canadian government because they cannot manage the volume of American milk production. (Rather than concede their own competitive inferiority, they’ve predictably blamed American dairies for producing…

On the Whitewater League of Women Voters Questionnaire (Spring 2017)

At its website, the Whitewater Area League of Women Voters has posted a questionnaire for the upcoming local election. For all the good work that the League does (and the national organization does admirable work in many communities), the questionnaire reveals an unsupported, narrow view of Whitewater’s local economy. Consider the 7th question in the survey…

The Local Economic Context of It All

Over a generation, Whitewater’s big-ticket public spending (where big ticket means a million or more per project in a city of about fifteen-thousand) has come with two, often-contradictory justifications: (1) that residents needed to spend so much because Whitewater was the very center of things, or (2) that residents needed to spend so much to assure that…

Immigration in America Is Not Broken

Immigration has proven to be one of the most divisive issues in the 2016 presidential race. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have expressed that the system is broken, but a consensus on any solution seems untenable. In this video, Atlantic national correspondent James Fallows and contributing writer Deborah Fallows ventured across the country to…