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State Capitalism

Foxconn Couldn’t Even Meet Its Low First-Year Goal

Here in Whitewater, the local private business lobby invited last year as a guest speaker a state operative to exaggerate wildly talk about Foxconn. See A Sham News Story on Foxconn. As it turns out, Foxconn hasn’t even been able to meet the low, first-year employment goals set for the publicly-subsidized project. Rick Rommel reports Foxconn falls…

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 Outrage of Corporate Welfare (Amazon, Foxconn, and others)

You may have heard by now that Amazon’s new headquarters will soon call the New York and Washington, D.C., metropolitan areas home. This decision has engendered much criticism. But the Atlantic staff writer Derek Thompson doesn’t think the vitriol is enough. “We should all be screaming mad about the state of corporate handouts in this country,” Thompson…

Foxconn Roundup: Outside Work and Local Land

Foxconn’s boosters each day inch closer to a corporate welfare version of Scientology: it doesn’t make any sense, but adherents keep to themselves and repeat a shared list of crackpot claims. The latest news to pierce the cultists’ bubble: Molly Beck and Rick Romell report Wisconsin taxpayers could pay Foxconn for work done outside of Wisconsin,…

The ‘Real’ Residents

Emily Badger reports Are Rural Voters the ‘Real’ Voters? Wisconsin Republicans Seem to Think So: In much of Wisconsin, “Madison and Milwaukee” are code words (to some, dog whistles) for the parts of the state that are nonwhite, elite, different: The cities are where people don’t have to work hard with their hands, because they’re collecting…

Once a Gerrymanderer…

Wisconsin, with a gerrymandered legislature and a crony capitalist, lame-duck governor, was never going to have an easy transition back to a tradition of democratically representative government and sound economic policy.  The men who engineered years of the wrong approach were never going to go gently to the political outer darkness that, deservedly, awaits them.…

Foxconn Roundup: Indiana Layoffs & Automation Everywhere

A sensible person would never have listened to a Walker Administration operative in Whitewater tout Foxconn without laughing or looking about for a nearby tomato.  No sensible person would have made that operative a guest speaker at an annual dinner or written about the event without criticism.  (See, about that Greater Whitewater Committee dinner and that…

Foxconn Roundup: Desperately Ill Edition

Before and after the recent election, solid assessments on Foxconn came to press, and they confirm how irrational and wasteful is that project. Earlier this year, the local business lobby (the Greater Whitewater Committee) invited the state capitalist stooge official overseeing the project to a dinner in Whitewater. I’ve no idea whether Matt Moroney will show…

Foxconn: Failure & Fraud

There are two national publications with recent updates on the Foxconn project, and each report highlights fundamental problems with the billions in public subsidies for that foreign corporation. Here’s a roundup of the latest on this dodgy corporate welfare:   Bruce Murphy (writing online for national tech site The Verge) reports Wisconsin’s $4.1 Billion Foxconn Boondoggle (“Gov.…

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…

Foxconn’s Predatory Reliance on Eminent Domain

Taiwanese-owned Foxconn is relying on eminent domain to seize Wisconsinites’ private homes for the sake of that foreign company’s project. Principles of eminent domain, sadly, have been vastly increased since a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision expanded government’s power to take from ordinary homeowners, among others. Those expanded governmental powers mean that residents who lose their…

The Walker Cabinet Officers’ Open Letter

Four cabinet secretaries of the Walker Administration have come forward to criticize the governor, and three of them have co-written an open letter against Walker’s relentless emphasis on political gain over sound policies. One of the signatories of the letter is Paul Jadin, who was Walker’s first Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation leader. It says all…

Foxconn’s Secret Deal with UW-Madison

These last several years in Wisconsin have seen a politics of corporate manipulation of public spending and a retreat from principles of open government. Businesses and business lobbying groups routinely expect public money for business projects that should be wholly private. (Scheming development gurus often refer to taxpayer money as their ‘tools,’ as though 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…