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Poverty

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…

‘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. —…

Really, Really Urgent CDA Announcement!

Shortly after booting my computer this April 1st morning, I found staring back at me the following Really Really Urgent Message from the “Whitewater Community Development Authority.”  Perhaps it has something to do with a recent excuse-making press release story at the Gazette.   News Release: April 1, 2019 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (this means now!)  Really…

Private Businesses Craving Public Money

A private group may invite whom it wishes, but the guests invited tell much about the organization doing the inviting. Long years ago, straining even the finest recollection, private businesses relied on their own efforts for success (or so one has heard).  Look about now, even in small and struggling places, and one finds well-fed…

The Recent Cold

It’s been unseasonably cold in southeastern Wisconsin this week, and in Whitewater that presents a challenge for the disproportionately large number of impoverished residents (some of whom occasionally lack utilities, even at the most unfavorable times). The three large public institutions in the city – municipal government, school district, and public university – have collectively dozens…

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…

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…

Political and Apolitical Means of Local Accomplishment

One test of an institution’s vitality is how eager people are to become members, and how interested a community is to learn who’s become a member. Strong institutions or organizations attract attention. When the institution is a city or county government, one looks to see who’s eager to run for office, and how many people…

Reported Family Poverty in Whitewater Increased Over the Last Decade

Over the last ten years, while Wisconsin and America recovered from the Great Recession, in Whitewater poverty among families with children actually increased. The Great Recession – deep and painful for many, lasted from December 2007 to June 2009. Afterward, most parts of America saw recovery, sometimes slow, sometimes rapid, but recovery by either definition.  That’s why for…

In Whitewater and Elsewhere, Employment’s Only Part of the Story

 In times of high unemployment, of course it makes sense to get people back to work. Jobs, jobs, jobs isn’t a bad mantra when people don’t have work.  (Work isn’t simply about an income, but a place in society.)  Today is not, however, the Great Depression. Listen to ‘development professionals’ go on about job-creation at…

Walworth County’s Working Poor

In Whitewater and throughout Walworth County, huge numbers of residents are “asset limited, income constrained [yet] employed” (ALICE®). A report from the United Way of Wisconsin, entitled ALICE® ASSET LIMITED, INCOME CONSTRAINED, EMPLOYED WISCONSIN, reveals the truth about many in our community. Walworth County measures slightly worse than the already-disappointing state average. The talk of…

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…