FREE WHITEWATER

Local Government

Into the Void

Across Wisconsin, newspapers have not distinguished themselves since the Great Recession. Most have descended into a cautious, center-right boosterism. They acted on their publishers’ own politics, and on the politics their elderly (but dwindling) readership. Doing so has only exacerbated their problems. The time to break from this was before – or even during –…

Fact-Checking is an Active, Ongoing Effort

Laura Hazard Cohen explains that “First-generation fact-checking” is no longer good enough. Here’s what comes next: “Fact checkers need to move from ‘publish and pray’ to ‘publish and act.’” “The idea that fact checking can work by correcting the public’s inaccurate beliefs on a mass scale alone doesn’t stack up,” write representatives from Full Fact…

Three Fundamental Failures: Employment, Income, and Poverty

An earlier post addressed Walker’s Fundamental Failure to meet his jobs pledge even after eight years. The record is much worse: years of corporate subsidies and meddling in the marketplace for preferred businesses & political cronies have produced failures of employment, income, and poverty. (Small town officials who copied this approach on the local level, as…

Public Money for Unskilled Manufacturing Jobs is Money Wasted

In times of historically low unemployment, communities are simply wasting public money when they subsidize unskilled manufacturing jobs.  The jobs, jobs, jobs mantra only makes sense in conditions of unemployment, unemployment, unemployment. Despite relatively low unemployment, ‘community development men’ in places like Whitewater still push business subsidies for companies using unskilled labor.  Pretending that dead-end…

From Festival to Alleged Felony

One now reads – sadly, any normal person might have expected – that the promoter of Jefferson Wisconsin’s shabby Warriors & Wizards festival faces the prospect of felony charges for theft and misrepresentation. See Warriors & Wizards Fest organizer Cramer charged with theft. 1. Unfortunate, All Around.  I’ve been a critic of this festival, and those…

Forget Electability

Jennifer Rubin looks at the latest Quinnipiac Poll and concludes Dumping the ‘electability’ canard is liberating: If Trump were not delusional, he would be panicked by the [poll] results. He loses to not only former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), but also South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sens. Elizabeth Warren…

What Can Be Done About Rural Newspapers (Even Though It Probably Won’t Be)?

Yesterday I wrote that Another Local Paper Changes Hands. With the failure of legacy publishing, what are rural communities to do? (Obvious point: FREE WHITEWATER is not an online newspaper – never aspired to be, never will be. This is a website of independent commentary: aligned with no faction, beholden to no faction.) A few…

Rural Population Drain

Thirteen years ago, local notables in small-town Whitewater, Wisconsin insisted that Whitewater was the very center of the universe.  When that claim didn’t entice newcomers, these same men began to claim the very opposite, that Whitewater wasn’t doing better because no one knew where the city was. (Both of these claims are silly: billions of…

The Empty ‘Jobs Created’ Pledge

In Wisconsin, these last years, one has often heard – so often that it might as well be a mantra – that corporate subsidies are necessary for job creation, to reward job creators. This repeated justification ignores evident realities: (1) in times of low unemployment job-creation subsidies are less necessary, (2) wealthy corporate recipients are…

‘Stung by Trump’s Trade Wars, Wisconsin’s Milk Farmers Face Extinction’

After years of the ignorant scheming of tax incremental financing, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, capital catalyst grants, the Trump tax bill, and now Trump’s trade war, Alan Rappeport reports Stung by Trump’s Trade Wars, Wisconsin’s Milk Farmers Face Extinction (“The flagship industry in a pivotal swing state faces an economic crisis”): KENDALL, Wis. —…

Foxconn: The Closer One Gets, The Worse It Is

There is, about Foxconn in Wisconsin, a fair amount of ignorant insistence that there will be supply chain opportunities, etc. Public employees talking about the Foxconn project’s supposed benefit is the practical equivalent letting them recite limericks or play sheepshead: it’s not productive. For those near Foxconn, however, that project is more than wasteful talk:…

‘Migration Key To Wisconsin’s Workforce’

For many years – and despite nearly a decade of corporate welfare and crony capitalism from the WEDC and local versions of it – Wisconsin has seen a decline in younger workers and families. Shamane Mills writes Report: Migration Key To Wisconsin’s Workforce (“State Has Seen Large Drop in Net Migration Of Families With Children…

Foxconn: Still Empty, and the Chairman of the Board Needs a Nap

Trump declared that Foxconn in Wisconsin would be the eighth wonder of the world, but one of the world’s true wonders would not depend on empty buildings and it wouldn’t have a leader who needs a nap, but here we are. Following his earlier examination on Foxconn’s habit of using empty buildings to dupe the…