Work & the Economy

Bad medicine: Trump trade wars undermine Wisconsin ginseng exports

BY: - August 6, 2019

Besides the impact it’s had on much larger commodity crops like soybeans and corn, the Trump administration’s escalating trade war with China is hurting a Wisconsin export for which Wisconsin has come to virtually dominate American production. Wisconsin annually raises about 1 million pounds of ginseng and typically exports about 85% of its production of […]

Will taxpayers give Foxconn $172,000 – $290,000 per job?

BY: - August 5, 2019

Foxconn jobs may cost state taxpayers between $172,000 to $290,000 per job and Wisconsin might only receive benefits equal to only about one-fifth of Foxconn direct incentive costs.  These dire economic outcomes were part of an economic analysis released Monday by Upjohn Institute for Employment Research senior economist Tim Bartik, who has been closely monitoring […]

The fight to save workers’ pensions

BY: - August 5, 2019

Eight years into his retirement, Bob Amsden got a letter in October 2015 that threatened to upend his life. The lifetime retirement pension was promised to him as part of his Teamsters Union contract during his 33-year career as an over-the-road truck driver. The letter said it would be cut by more than half — […]

Summer work program abused

BY: - July 31, 2019

A special visa program to bring short-term visitors to the U.S. has ballooned into “a source of cheap and exploitable labor,” says a new report — and Wisconsin ranks number three among states making use of that feature. The Summer Work Travel program, which enables foreign visitors to work during their stay in the U.S., […]

Baldwin pushes climate-ready infrastructure

BY: - July 30, 2019

Rebuilding roads, bridges and other infrastructure projects after they are wiped out by storms, floods and other disasters is increasingly urgent as climate change drives severe weather events. But  “too often, highway infrastructure is rebuilt to pre-disaster specifications, leaving roads and bridges vulnerable to another disaster,” U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin said in a statement on […]

COMMENTARY
Holstein cows in a barn at the Marshfield Agricultural Research Station's north campus near Stratford, Wis., Wednesday afternoon, July 11, 2018. Photo by Michael P. King/UW-Madison CALS

Milk: Too Much of a Good Thing

BY: - July 29, 2019

Our cup runneth over. In 2018 Wisconsin dairy farmers produced a record 30.6 billion pounds of milk. That’s billion with a “b.” We’ve been trained to see increase and plentitude as always a good thing. In the case of milk, America’s Dairyland has too much of a good thing. To be fair it’s not just […]

If GateHouse swallows Gannett, what will that mean for Wisconsin?

BY: - July 29, 2019

A looming media mega-merger is likely to cast a long shadow over Wisconsin journalism. The Wall Street Journal reported 10 days ago that GateHouse Media and Gannett were in merger talks that would combine the two newspaper chains under the GateHouse umbrella.  “It’s increasingly likely to happen,” wrote news business analyst Ken Doctor earlier this […]

Happy second birthday, Foxconn

BY: - July 26, 2019

Two years ago today Foxconn announced its plan to build a new factory in Southeastern Wisconsin and a promise to employ 13,000 people in return for more than $3 billion in aid from the state.  The project has sparked enthusiasm from its backers, starting with then-Gov. Scott Walker, and opprobrium from critics who questioned the […]

Rust belt leaders rip Trump for ‘selling out’ workers

BY: - July 26, 2019

Labor allies from Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin on Thursday pushed back against President Donald Trump’s afternoon event celebrating the one-year anniversary of his executive order establishing the National Council for the American Worker.   U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint ); U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.); Sylvia Wilson, executive vice President of the Allegheny County, Pa., […]

Students, state officials wrestle with student-loan debt crisis

BY: - July 24, 2019

A 12-person panel, including state and local officials and community members, gathered at Milwaukee’s Washington Park Library to discuss tackling the student-loan debt crisis. The meeting drew a crowd of about 30, including current loan borrowers, social workers, teachers and the parents of indebted students. Panelists, including Alex Brower, a substitute teacher in the Milwaukee […]

Some millionaires pay lower taxes than minimum wage earners in Wisconsin

BY: - July 23, 2019

Thanks to a little-known big ‘MAC’ tax credit, a minimum wage worker serving Big Macs could pay more in state income taxes than a profitable corporation making millions in Wisconsin. Despite lots of talk by Democrats in the last election about eliminating or reducing this tax break, the recently signed state budget does nothing to […]

children under a parachute

Squeeze remains on childcare subsidies, and the families who need them

BY: - July 22, 2019

It’s getting much more difficult for low-income families in Wisconsin to obtain affordable childcare, a new report says, and while both the Democratic governor and the Republican-led legislature have offered remedies, so far those efforts have fallen short. The findings are in a brief published last week by the Wisconsin Policy Forum that examines the […]