FREE WHITEWATER

Innovation Center/Tech Park

Foxconn: Evidence of Bad Policy Judgment

From the moment then-Governor Walker signed the Foxconn deal, it was clear to national economists (from across the political spectrum) that it was a dubious idea. As the months wore on, one could find more – and detailed – critiques of the project. FREE WHITEWATER has post after post addressing these sound critiques. The posts…

Crops in a Business Park

It’s right to make bids for government services, just as it’s right to mitigate losses or vacancies. Yet, for it all, it’s telling that Whitewater’s Community Development Authority has so much vacant business space that it leases the empty lots out for cropland. The Community Development Authority of the City of Whitewater, Wisconsin (“CDA”) is…

The Fight Against Gravity

The Trump Administration wants to bolster industries that are market failures, with coal as an example.  Catherine Rampell writes of that effort in The Trump administration learns that fighting gravity is hard: The Trump administration is learning that, as new data show that the industries it has worked hardest to prop up — through bailouts, tariffs…

Ignorant Policymakers Will Produce Ignorant Policies

Rep. Justin Amash, who is as close to a libertarian as any Republican in Congress, offered this observation about Wilbur Ross, Trump’s Secretary of Commerce: It’s amazing that Wilbur Ross was nominated and confirmed to be secretary of anything. He’s shown over many years that he doesn’t understand basic economics, and to describe him as…

Nationally and Locally: The Big-Government Conservatives Are Economy-Wreckers

Catherine Rampell, writing about the national GOP, accurately describes their economic policy under Trump in The GOP has become the Soviet party.  This has been a building national problem for years, but a building local problem for about as long: a clique of slogan-rich but insight-poor local conservatives have wrecked economies like Whitewater’s economy with a steady diet of…

The Broad Outlines of 2019

For many years, I would begin the year with predictions for the twelve months ahead.  Events since 2016 have made predictions harder,  but one can still discern some short-term developments for the city.  These prospects, of course, form an online of topics to ponder, and about which to write (often requiring that one return to the…

The Two Questions that Haunt Old Whitewater

Two questions haunt Old Whitewater (where Old Whitewater is a state of mind rather than an age or a particular person): What does it mean to be a college town? and What is meaningful community development? (There are other serious questions, but one can be sure – at the least – that these two have Whitewater…

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…

Far Less Than 10.7%

Whitewater’s residents may have recently read (3.7.17) another City of Whitewater press release from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) – this time concerning more public spending on selected businesses.  (For remarks on a prior release, please see The Simplest Condition for a ‘Shovel-Ready’ Site is an Empty Lot.) There are few better ways to argue against…

The Simplest Condition for a ‘Shovel-Ready’ Site is an Empty Lot

Whitewater’s residents may have recently read (just yesterday) a City of Whitewater press release about a Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) designation for the city’s thirty-five empty acres of tech park land. I’ve reproduced the release in full at the bottom of this post. A few key points: 1. The simplest condition for a “shovel ready” site is…

‘WEDC has been a disaster from the get-go’

After years of defending the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, one newspaper (out of several in the area) finally concedes the obvious:  ‘WEDC has been a disaster from the get-go.’ See, from 11.28.15, http://www.gazettextra.com/20151128/our_views_consider_two_steps_for_salvaging_state8217s_job_creation_agency, subscription req’d. Yes, it has been a disaster, as politicized intervention in the economy, to the benefit of one’s well-fed, white-collar executive…

Theranos as a Cautionary Tale

Theranos is a much-hyped biomedical start-up that’s fallen in valuation and reputation (not always the same thing) following published doubts (e.g., @ Wall Street Journal, Fortune) about its supposedly revolutionary technology. Here’s the meaning of this story for Whitewater: Theranos had the participation (and attention) of some of the most gifted men and women in America,…

The State’s WEDC and Whitewater’s Facsimiles

Ongoing revelations about the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation are a double concern: they’re stories of statewide malfeasance, and those revelations beg the question of how local officials in Whitewater are managing their own pools of public money. First, the latest stories (it’s a steady stream) of state-level error, waste, and negligence: Madison— Failing to run…