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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,…

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.…

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…

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…

Majority of Walworth County’s Renters are Rent-Burdened

A new study, Paying the Rent, from the Wisconsin Policy Forum finds that a majority of Walworth County’s renters are rent-burdened, placing the county in the top five most distressed in the state by that measurement. (There are, of course, 72 counties in Wisconsin, so Walworth County is among the weakest of a very large…

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…

“Later This Year”

One reads that Foxconn [is] planning to buy land for innovation centers later this year. Read a bit closer, however, and one learns that ‘later this year’ is about as undependable as ‘the check is in the mail’ or ‘I gave at the office’: A question regarding innovation centers was one of many from Democratic Assembly Minority Leader…

Foxconn Deal Melts Away

Rick Romell and Molly Beck report Foxconn now declines to say it plans to build type of factory named in state, local contracts: But in a shift from its stance of two months ago, the company on Wednesday did not offer assurances that it still plans to build the type of liquid crystal display panel plant…

Trump, Ryan, and Walker Want to Seize Wisconsin Homes to Build Foxconn Plant

A video on how Trump, Ryan, and Walker are abusing eminent domain law and seek to destroy the homes of Wisconsinites to build the Foxconn plant is well worth watching. The short video was removed from YouTube over a bogus copyright claim, but it’s back online. (In the time since the video was first published,…

The Next Guest Speaker

Last winter, the Greater Whitewater Committee, a local 501(c)(6) business league, invited Matt Moroney (a longtime Walker operative) to speak to residents on Foxconn’s many supposed benefits. The Daily Union‘s longtime stenographer correspondent dutifully and uncritically reported on Moroney’s remarks.  See A Sham News Story on Foxconn. Over the years, key leaders of this business league have served…