Declines, Recessions, and Rhetoric | FREE WHITEWATER

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 Pearlstein is right that A market crash was coming, even before coronavirus (“Cheap credit saved the global economy in 2008. It just went on for too long”):

Instead, they [policymakers] took the easy political course and allowed all that excess liquidity to be used by banks, hedge funds, private equity funds, companies and households to inflate a new round of financial and economic bubbles. And now that a real-world shock to the economy and the financial system has hit in the form of the novel coronavirus, what might have become a short but significant market downturn looks to be turning into a full-blown financial rout.

Recessions. Trump claims many things, but he has not – and cannot – suspend business cycles. On the contrary, his trade war, and redistributionist tax bill, have made a recession more likely. See Nationally and Locally: The Big-Government Conservatives Are Economy-Wreckers.

Whitewater. There is no estimable community development without improvement in ordinary residents’ personal economic conditions.

What’s does one call a place that invests in large capital projects while incomes are low and stagnant? One calls it the former Soviet Union.

Boosterism Meets Third-Person Narration. These “Greater Whitewater” men (and it’s mostly two of them, one being a flack for the other, with at least one councilman also thrown in for good measure) wasted a decade as Whitewater has declined.

There’s a strong case to be made against their boosterism, but sadly the case is far more than rhetorical: look around and one sees that every new shop is met with another empty one, every new project surrounded by a dozen people who look worse for these years.

It’s not wrong to say that some parts of America have seen a boom – it’s obtuse to the point of absurdity to talk about a boom when most of Whitewater’s residents have felt nothing of the kind.

As it turns out, these boosters are poor writers – much of their work is third-tier puffery. (“The GWC is an action-oriented group committed to working with citizens, elected officials and policy makers to identify, craft and implement a pro-business agenda. The agenda advances the economic, education and social policies required to energize and secure the Whitewater area’s economic future, as well as protect Whitewater’s quality of life.”) Do we not teach composition in our schools?

If their anti-market interventionism hasn’t worked by now…

And yet, and yet, their repetition of the same tired catchphrases (“nimble” being the latest) cannot obscure the deficiencies of their approach. In this way, blogging against their boosterism is less about advocacy and more a simple matter of third-person narration: a review of residents’ individual and household conditions refutes their claims.

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