Daily Bread for 6.12.24: National Inflation Slows

Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 87. Sunrise is 5:15 and sunset 8:34 for 15h 18m 33s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 34.5 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Landmarks Commission meets at 6 PM.

On this day in 1889, the worst tornado disaster in Wisconsin history occurs:

The storm virtually leveled New Richmond on the day the Gollmar Brothers Circus came to town. At the time, New Richmond was a prosperous town of 2500 people and one of the most scenic places in Wisconsin. On the day of the storm, the streets were filled with residents and tourists waiting for the afternoon circus parade. Shortly after the circus ended, the tornado passed through the very center of town, completely leveling buildings. Over 300 buildings were damaged or destroyed. Massive amounts of flying debris resulted in multiple deaths in at least 26 different families. In all, the storm claimed 117 lives and caused 150 injuries.

On this day in 1944, American paratroopers of the 101st Airborne Division secure the town of CarentanNormandy, France.

Good news on national inflation, as Jeff Cox reports Inflation slows in May, with consumer prices up 3.3% from a year ago:

The consumer price index showed no increase in May as inflation slightly loosened its stubborn grip on the U.S. economy, the Labor Department reported Wednesday.

The CPI, a broad inflation gauge that measures a basket of goods and services costs across the U.S. economy, held flat on the month though it increased 3.3% from a year ago, according to the department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been looking for a 0.1% monthly gain and a 3.4% annual rate.

Excluding volatile food and energy prices, core CPI increased 0.2% on the month and 3.4% from a year ago, compared with respective estimates of 0.3% and 3.5%.


Following the report, stock market futures pushed higher while Treasury yields slid.

Though the top-line inflation numbers were lower for both the all-items and core measures, shelter inflation increased 0.4% on the month and was up 5.4% from a year ago. Housing-related numbers have been a sticking point in the Federal Reserve’s inflation battle and make up a heavy share of the CPI weighting.

(Emphasis added.)

The cost of shelter continues to increase nationally, forcing the many to pay more of their income to the few for a place to live.

What are Joro spiders and are they dangerous?:

Daily Bread for 5.21.24: On Arguments from Yesteryear’s Community Development Authority

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will see afternoon clouds and evening thunderstorms with a high of 85. Sunrise is 5:25 and sunset 8:17 for 14h 52m 53s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 95.5 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Lakes Advisory Special Committee meets at 9 AM and the Common Council meets at 6:30 PM.

On or about May 21, 1673, Fr. Jacques Marquette, fur-trader Louis Joliet, and five French voyageurs pulled into a Menominee community near modern Marinette, Mich.

On this day in 1792, a lava dome collapses on Mount Unzen, near the city of Shimbara on the Japanese island of Kyushu, creating a deadly tsunami that kills nearly 15,000 people.

Witness conflicts of interest and hear self-serving claims long enough, and one risks becoming accustomed to them. The claims offered may be no better than a child’s connivances, yet repetition will cause hesitation even among reasonable and independent-minded people. FREE WHITEWATER published a few words on Monday about Whitewater’s new Common Council and Community Development Authority majorities. See On a New Common Council & New Community Development Authority. Today, a few remarks will follow about specific contentions from holdovers of yesteryear’s CDA.

The video of the Whitewater CDA meeting from 5.16.24 is embedded above. In remarks below, I will refer to specific claims from that meeting, and from earlier public meetings.

A few points worth remembering:

1. Whitewater lacks adequate housing. This condition should be evident to everyone and anyone. See Video, CDA Meeting of 5.16.24 @ 33:02.

2. Whitewater’s new CDA majority has proposed a residential development on South Moraine View Drive. See Video, CDA Meeting of 5.16.24 @ 31:47 and professional reporting from WhitewaterWise, CDA recommends approval of 128-unit multifamily development on Moraine View Parkway. This proposal is well-located and would provide a needed boost to our housing supply.

3. Rents in Whitewater are high for many residents.

4. A former CDA chairman, a second-generation landlord, when arguing against these new opportunities for others, concedes his belief that the proposed developments will affect his financial condition:

He [a consultant] mentioned that it would have no effect on student housing. And he’s absolutely wrong.

See Video, CDA Meeting of 5.16.24 @ 36:14.

It’s a candid admission: an acknowledgment that his view is particular, specific, and biased, impacting his interests.

These are not the views of an independent, unbiased analyst. It’s as though someone asked a Volkswagen salesman on commission which car to buy. (Be careful: someone may try to slip in some TruCoat.)

It is an implicit concession that rents will decline in conditions of steady demand and increased supply. With holdings in incumbent properties, this gentleman has a financial interest in preventing an increase in supply that might affect his bottom line.

5. He follows with a disingenuous assertion that he knows of no instance in which the city has provided financial assistance to a project like this. See Video, CDA Meeting of 5.16.24 @ 36:37.

The closer you look at his claim, the less you see.

The claim that there hasn’t been an effort to subsidize is disingenuous because policymakers (and self-interested men) can influence policy not merely through spending but through zoning. They can pay to make something happen, or they can argue against zoning regulations to limit competitors.

These gentlemen once backed zoning liberalization in the mid-Aughts when they wanted more opportunities for rental properties. See from March 2014 Last Night’s Zoning Rewrite Meeting (Residential Sections).

Later, when, as incumbents, they decided that they’d rather not have competition, they began to argue against others’ new properties. From 2014 see Daily Union, Whitewater council eyes zoning for Campus Edge development, where the CDA chairman produced a parade of horribles against more development.

See also FREE WHITEWATER @ Boo! Scariest Things in Whitewater, 2014 (“So a new apartment building at Main & Prince is ‘too extreme’ in design for Whitewater? Well, I would guess that existing landlords must think so. [Update: For consumers, it’s a good thing, and a bad joke that anyone from the CDA would shill against it.]”)

Years later (they’re tenacious!) they similarly fought in 2018 against a project on Tratt Street. See Daily Union, Common council rezones annexed land.

That project has been quite helpful and attractive.

As with the 2014 effort, they argued up and down against more supply to meet demand.

6. Perhaps, as someone now contends, he’s simply an advocate of affordable single-family homes. No, he’s not. These gentlemen have argued against affordable homes in Whitewater. In 2022, they argued against smaller homes, insisting on larger ones instead.

See from 2022 Housing Opportunity and Opportunity’s Adversaries, where these men argued against smaller lots for more modest, affordable homes. Fortunately, at least some lots were approved.

Whitewater’s Common Council, by a vote of 5-2 at its 9.20.22 session, sensibly approved on first reading the creation of an R1-S zoning district for detachedsingle-family homes on smaller lots. A zoning change that offers some builders and buyers, even in limited areas, more options is, prima facie, the right decision.

So what a this lights on for us, lights off for you public policy? It’s this:

A tiny clique of landlords has for years addressed this issue opportunistically. These few wanted to liberalize Whitewater’s ordinances to permit more student housing. And so, and so, there were more student apartments in the center of town. Ah, but when competitors sought approval to build on Prince or Tratt Streets, an incumbent landlord (and sometime public official) used one claim after another under the city’s ordinances to prevent or restrict those competitive projects.

These are proud, private businessmen right up until the time they hold public offices and entreat public bodies to bend to their special-interest desires. 

The larger homes these men advocated would have been out of reach for many residents.

It’s as though you told a struggling person that he should hold off buying tuna until he could afford caviar. A person taking that advice would go hungry waiting.

They opportunistically shift from one position to another while leaving residents without genuine, real options. Wait a bit is easier for men who already have than men and women who would like something affordable.

These gentlemen want the law liberalized when it liberalization suits their bottom line, but want the law restricted when restriction suits their bottom line. They could not be more obvious if they tried. (In my own case, the best policy would be fewer restrictions all the way down, but that’s not the point here. The point is that their views have shifted with their interests rather than the common good, and their interests are not the same as the city’s interests

7. Tax incremental funding comes up as an objection to this project. One should remember that the new CDA’s program here is to meet an existing need for affordable housing. A reminder: food, clothing, shelter. Any tax incremental fiancing now would meet a fundamental need. (I write this, by the way, as a long-standing critic of tax incremental financing; yet, this critic can see that some cases are more important than others, are more understandable than others.)

For years, these older men were involved in tax increment financing for Whitewater. They weren’t critics then; they’re raising doubts now they see competition. (These are not free-market men; they’re a few self-helping businessmen.) 

See from the 2013 Whitewater Register, TIF districts reviewed by city’s CDA:

Expressing optimism with perceived economic improvements, members of the Whitewater CDA recently discussed a number of the areas of the city designated as tax incremental financing (TIF) districts.

Officials briefly went over TIF districts 5 to 8 during a meeting Oct. 23. TIFS 5 and 7 are designated for mixed-use, a term denoting a blend of commercial and residential uses. TIFs 6 and 8, meanwhile, are earmarked for industrial use.

“We’re kind of getting out of the doldrums of this economy,” said CDA Chair Jeff Knight, expressing optimism of future development within the city.

Our current housing needs are, by far, greater than those of any tax incremental plan or other plan that a former CDA has ever advocated in this city.

If these few holdovers from another time would like to lecture others about tax incremental financing, they should first look to their past roles in tax incremental financing in this community.

Most important of all: it’s a city of 15,000 equal people, many of whom have good ideas for our future. A few older men who keep insisting ‘we’ve never done it that way’ or ‘that’s not our history’ only bolster the case for encouraging new officials, new voices, to advance a different way. We’ve not benefited from the public policy advice of the last generation. See A Candid Admission from the Whitewater CDA and Whitewater’s Still Waiting for That Boom.

It’s time — well past time — to blaze a new trail.

Daily Bread for 3.20.24: A Legal (and Free Market) Victory Against the National Association of Realtors®

 Good morning.

The first full day of Spring in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 40. Sunrise is 6:55 and sunset 7:08 for 12h 13m 11s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 81.3 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Parks & Recreation Board meets at 5:30 PM

On this day in 1815, after escaping from Elba, Napoleon enters Paris with a regular army of 140,000 and a volunteer force of around 200,000, beginning his “Hundred Days” rule.


For generations, the National Association of Realtors® has controlled (as though it were part monopoly, part cartel) the process of buying and selling homes. That control has now come to an end with much of the credit going to a personal injury lawyer in Missouri and his five clients. 

The end of the Association’s stranglehold on the housing market is a legal victory that’s brought about a free-market victory for buyers and sellers. See Powerful Realtor Group Agrees to Slash Commissions to Settle Lawsuits (‘The National Association of Realtors will pay $418 million in damages and will amend several rules that housing experts say will drive down housing costs’) and Five Ways Buying and Selling a House Could Change (‘The National Association of Realtors has agreed to change its policies to settle several lawsuits brought by home sellers — a move that could reduce commissions’). 

These changes won’t solve housing shortages in Whitewater or other small towns, but they will benefit buyers and sellers across the nation in reduced commissions. (America has had among the highest commission fees in all the developed world.)

Well, done, Missouri attorney Michael Ketchmark and clients. You’ve helped all the nation end entrenched, expensive, anti-competitive practices. 

Notre Dame Cathedral could reopen at the end of 2024 as new spire emerges:

Daily Bread for 6.14.23: The Proposal to Use Whitewater’s $1.9 Million Single-Family Housing Fund to Subsidize Landlords and Non-Occupant Investors

Good morning. Wednesday in Whitewater will be partly sunny, with a chance of late afternoon showers, and a high of 78. Sunrise is 5:15 AM and sunset 8:34 PM for 15h 19m 07s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 13.9% of its visible disk illuminated.   The city and school district’s Aquatic…

Daily Bread for 9.28.22: Local and National Views of Child Poverty

Good morning. Wednesday in Whitewater will be mostly sunny with a high of 58. Sunrise is 6:49 AM and sunset 6:40 PM for 11h 50m 44s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 7.6% of its visible disk illuminated.  Whitewater’s Parks & Recreation Board meets at 5:30 PM.    On this day in 1781,…

Daily Bread for 9.27.22: Housing Opportunity and Opportunity’s Adversaries

Good morning. Tuesday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 56. Sunrise is 6:48 AM and sunset 6:42 PM for 11h 53m 38s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 2.8% of its visible disk illuminated.  Whitewater’s Finance Committee meets at 4:30 PM.   On this day in 1777, Lancaster, Pennsylvania becomes…