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Poverty

Whitewater Common Council Meeting, 10.20.20: Basics and Buildings

The Whitewater Common Council met briefly last night, 10.20.20. The agenda for the meeting is available, and a recording of the session appears above. Two different topics are worth noting (for different reasons): autumn leaf collection and a building rehabilitation project. A few remarks —  1. Leaf collection. The city has many homes & apartments, the homes…

Waiting for Whitewater’s Dorothy Day

Whitewater has many needs, but fulfilling them requires setting aside the city’s longstanding addiction to press releases, public relations, ‘messaging,’ etc. That approach is both ineffectual and proud (where pride is a sin). Worse still is the irreparably conflicted role of politician and reporter, a government intrusion into civil society, a bad habit of Old…

Whitewater & Walworth County’s Working Poor, 2020 ALICE® Report

The 2020 ALICE® report, on those who are “asset limited, income constrained [yet] employed” is now available.  These latest data were collected before the recent recession – one can be sadly confident that hardship reaches farther now. For Wisconsin, 11% of households were below the poverty level, and 34% (including those below the poverty level) were…

A Key Difference Between Bristol, New Hampshire and Whitewater, Wisconsin

A sad story from April about Bristol, N.H. (population 3,300) reveals key differences between that town and Whitewater. While this new recession affects both communities, the economic hardship will be different.  See David Gelles, ‘This Is Going to Kill Small-Town America.’ Bristol depends on one major, private manufacturer: By the end of March, with just…

Boosterism, ’30s Style

Although the Roosevelt Administration was (whatever its other mistakes) candid about the economic conditions it faced, there was in the ’30s, as there has been over the 2010s in Wisconsin, a delusional impulse to happy talk – regardless of economic conditions – among some politicians and some business groups. Margaret Bourke-White‘s Kentucky Flood depicts the…

The Reopening Debate Will Turn on Consumer Demand

The push to reopen Wisconsin will only effectively benefit retail businesses if consumer demand returns to pre-pandemic levels.  Consumer demand will only return to pre-pandemic levels if consumers feel safe.  Some retail demand will return as soon as shops and restaurants open; the marketplace question is whether consumer demand returns to something like pre-pandemic levels.…

Jared Kushner, Slumlord Millionaire, Wants the Rent ‘ASAP’

AJ Vicens reports As the Coronavirus Hit, Jared Kushner’s Company Told Renters to Take Action to Pay “ASAP”:  On Thursday, March 19, Westminster Management—which is owned by the Kushner Companies and boasts of holdingmore than 20,000 apartments across six states—sent residents in at least one property a notice about rent collection—but it wasn’t about giving them…

Assistance Takes Time

So one hears that an effort toward assistance for children’s breakfast & lunch meals received a lower initial response than some expected. Perhaps, but responses take time – especially in a community where large numbers of children live in poor families that almost certainly do not have conventional broadband access. Initial responses are not indicative…

Local Public Policy as if Charitable Assistance

Whitewater’s policymakers, and those of other small, rural cities, should – in these times of economic stagnation, a lingering opioid crisis, failed business welfare, and an approaching recession – view their principal obligation as if it were charitable outreach. (It’s not charity, of course, but that’s how policymakers should view it: as both palliative and…

Declines, Recessions, and Rhetoric

While yesterday was a bad day for the financial markets, it’s the underlying – and troubling – fundamental condition of the economy that matters far more. Places like Whitewater, that adopted business special interests’ “if-you-build-it-they-will-come” approach despite increasing poverty and stagnation in household and individual incomes, are especially vulnerable to a downturn. Market Declines. Steven…

Cashierless (and so Cashless)

One reads that Amazon has opened its first cashless, full-size grocery store in Seattle. See Amazon is opening its first full-size, cashierless grocery store. Here’s a first look inside. A few remarks: This is a technological achievement, and other companies are working along similar lines. No cashier means, definitionally, no cash transactions. That’s convenient for…