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Government Spending

“Later This Year”

One reads that Foxconn [is] planning to buy land for innovation centers later this year. Read a bit closer, however, and one learns that ‘later this year’ is about as undependable as ‘the check is in the mail’ or ‘I gave at the office’: A question regarding innovation centers was one of many from Democratic Assembly Minority Leader…

A Tax Incremental Financing Review

Today at four o’clock, the Joint Review Board is scheduled to review Whitewater’s tax incremental districts. Views of tax incremental financing – especially in a place like Whitewater – are a good test of someone’s basic understanding of economic development. Indeed, the test reduces to a simple relationship: the more one contends that tax incremental…

Foxconn Deal Melts Away

Rick Romell and Molly Beck report Foxconn now declines to say it plans to build type of factory named in state, local contracts: But in a shift from its stance of two months ago, the company on Wednesday did not offer assurances that it still plans to build the type of liquid crystal display panel plant…

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 Trump Tax Bill: Massive Federal Deficits

The Whitewater Community Development Authority’s press releases flacking a part of the Trump tax bill for Whitewater show only that they either don’t understand what the Trump bill means for America, or that they hope others won’t understand. (See press release 1, press release 2.) This bill will drive the federal budget deficit to astonishing and…

Trump, Ryan, and Walker Want to Seize Wisconsin Homes to Build Foxconn Plant

A video on how Trump, Ryan, and Walker are abusing eminent domain law and seek to destroy the homes of Wisconsinites to build the Foxconn plant is well worth watching. The short video was removed from YouTube over a bogus copyright claim, but it’s back online. (In the time since the video was first published,…

The Next Guest Speaker

Last winter, the Greater Whitewater Committee, a local 501(c)(6) business league, invited Matt Moroney (a longtime Walker operative) to speak to residents on Foxconn’s many supposed benefits. The Daily Union‘s longtime stenographer correspondent dutifully and uncritically reported on Moroney’s remarks.  See A Sham News Story on Foxconn. Over the years, key leaders of this business league have served…

Foxconn’s (Overwhelmingly) Low-Paying Jobs

Residents of Whitewater (or at least the ones attracted to corporate welfare) had a chance this winter to hear a state operative extol the benefits of billions in public money for Foxconn.  The local 501(c)(6) business league, the Greater Whitewater Committee, brought in a guest speaker to tout the project.  See A Sham News Story on…

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…

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 this imposition was a woman crippled and dependent for life.

If it should be true – and it is – that big-ticket projects in Whitewater have failed the fundamental test of community development (improvement of widespread personal and household economic well-being), then what shall one say of a generation’s efforts in that regard?

If it should be true – and it is – that unfettered demand heavily favors rental housing over single-family units in Whitewater, then what shall one say of a generation’s obsession with promoting a less favored arrangement over a more popular one?

It’s fair to say that some in Whitewater have supported these efforts in the belief that such programs might somehow make life better here. Such support, running contrary to the free, voluntary consumer demand in the whole area, might have been well-meaning, but was no less misguided.

For others, however, there must have been – and must be – some awareness, either partial or complete, that their efforts could – and can – neither meaningfully improve individual well-being nor change appreciably the overall housing stock of the city.

Empty programs attract notice that diverts attention from actual needs, and send resources in the wrong direction.

Community development in Whitewater, as it has been publicly advanced for the last few decades, looks nothing like the development of personal and household economic well-being.  Time and again, public resources have been directed at the bidding of a private business lobby.  Indeed, Whitewater’s Community Development Authority looks as much like a private 501(c)(6) business league as anything else.

Perhaps some in this city can’t imagine otherwise, in the way that years ago some men in China couldn’t imagine beauty unbound.

When the Whitewater CDA’s executive director rattles off an alphabet soup of public agencies to meddle in the marketplace, he’s parroting the sham capitalism so popular among fast-talking officials statewide.  State &  crony capitalism have the same relationship to free-market capitalism as pig Latin has to genuine Latin: they share some of the same letters, but mean very different things.

For a fraction of the public funds wasted on sketchy tech ideas and out-of-town businesses wandering nomadically for a handout, our city might have developed directed programs for the poor, and for in-town enterprises.

If it’s ‘community-minded’ to spread economic myths and reinforce empty boosterism, then to be community-minded has an unworthy meaning.

There is, of course, community happily to be found now in Whitewater, but it rests in private undertakings, apart from those who have directed public institutions to narrow and futile ends.

PreviouslyTwo Truths of Whitewater’s Economy.

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…