Category Archives: Economy

Kingdom Invests in Tesla Rival

Whoa.

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund invested over $1 billion Monday in American electric car manufacturer, Lucid Motors.

That’s bad news for Tesla, as it signals that the kingdom may be moving in a different direction, just weeks after CEO Elon Musk claimed the fund would help his own firm go private.

The Public Investment Fund (PIF), which invests on behalf of the Saudi government, said the infusion would go toward launching the Lucid Air electric sedan by 2020.

Walker Calls for Senate to Vote on KC Incentive

I don’t think they should pass it, but I do think they should call it for a vote. Kimberly-Clark deserves an answer either way.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker wants members of the state Senate to convene this month to approve a $100 million tax incentive package designed to keep hundreds of paper company jobs in Wisconsin, but it’s not clear whether the proposal has enough support to pass.

“We need support from both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate to save these good-paying Wisconsin jobs,” Walker tweeted on Thursday.

He told reporters in Milwaukee he’s working to secure the 17 votes needed to approve the bill in the Senate, which would need to return in an extraordinary session in order to give it a vote.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitgerald, R-Juneau, said he’s working to find Republican votes to support the bill, which aims to prevent paper company Kimberly-Clark from closing two plants located in Neenah and Fox Crossing at a loss of 610 jobs.

Keep the Walker economy going

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News yesterday.

Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer in Wisconsin, has come and gone. The kids are back in school. Even some of the more eager leaves have begun to turn as a reminder that winter is looming on the horizon. Also looming is the November election, when Wisconsin’s voters will decide whether to change the direction of our state or stay the course.

Gov. Scott Walker has a great case to make for his re-election, but many voters have become complacent after so many years of success. Too often, politics is about “what have you done for me lately.” Walker and the legislative Republicans have made tremendous improvements in preserving and expanding civil rights, protecting life, education reform and many other areas of government. But with the limited space available in this column, let us look deeper at Wisconsin’s economy under Walker.

In 2010, the year that Scott Walker was elected as governor, Wisconsin’s unemployment rate stood at 8.7 percent. Over a quarter-million Wisconsinites were looking for work and could not find it. Per capita income had fallen to $38,598. Businesses were fleeing Wisconsin due to the inflexible regulatory climate, a hostile government and oppressive taxes. The state budget was running yet another massive deficit and voters were facing another round of tax increases.

Fast forward to July 2018 — after almost two full terms of Walker. Wisconsin’s unemployment rate stands at 3.1 percent — a rate below what many economists consider full employment. There are more than 300,000 more Wisconsinites working now than there were in 2010, and they are earning more. Per capita income in 2016, the most recent year for which figures are available, is up to $46,762 — an increase of more than $8,000 per person and the most recent economic data coming from federal number crunchers indicates that income growth is accelerating with sustained high employment.

One might be tempted to dismiss these economic comparisons as unfair given the entire nation’s economy is booming. That is true and a reason that voters should also return Republican majorities to the Congress, but Wisconsin is even doing better under Walker than most other states.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, Wisconsin’s percent growth in privatesector jobs in July ranked seventh nationally and first in the Midwest. Our state’s July unemployment rate tied for the seventh lowest in the nation. In the manufacturing industry, Wisconsin ranked fifth nationally in percent growth in jobs over the last year and gained the second-most manufacturing jobs in the last six months.

The evidence is clear that while the nation’s economy is enjoying fabulous growth in jobs and wages, Wisconsin is one of the states leading the pack.

The vast majority of Wisconsin’s economic success is due to the millions of Wisconsinites who work hard, build businesses and create value in the global market. State government’s policies can either retard the innate economic prowess of Wisconsin’s people or help create an environment where that prowess can be let loose. The policies that Walker enacted during his first two terms have enabled Wisconsinites to flex their economic muscles.

For example, Walker set about immediately cutting state regulations and reining in the fearsome Department of Natural Resources. He signed the law making Wisconsin a right-to-work state, thus freeing the people from forced unionization. Walker cut taxes and improved Wisconsin’s transportation infrastructure.

Perhaps most importantly, Walker’s pro-business attitude has permeated state government. During the Jim Doyle era, Wisconsin had a well-earned reputation for being hostile to business. Companies that dared to open in the state were threatened with costly regulations, a DNR that would deny permits and slam them with fines for the most inconsequential infraction and politicians who would cluck their tongues if they were not the “right kind” of jobs.

Under Walker, the state has struck a better regulatory balance that protects the interests of all Wisconsinites — including those who want to work. State agencies still enforce all of the laws and regulations, but do so by helping businesses comply instead of crushing them with fines. When businesses run into some problem with state government, a state regulator is more likely to pick up the phone and ask, “How can I help?” That matters to business owners who are just trying to grow their businesses the best they know how.

Finally, unlike the previous governor, Walker actively recruits businesses to move to Wisconsin. There is no doubt that had it not been for Walker aggressively recruiting Foxconn, that multibillion-dollar investment would have gone to another state. Walker not only asked for the business, he closed the deal. A lesser governor would not have succeeded.

Wisconsin’s economy has made a complete turnaround under Walker and is heading in the right direction. It is a mistake to think that the state’s economy will continue in that direction under Tony Evers. Leadership matters and Wisconsin’s economy needs Walker to remain at the helm.

Keep the Walker economy going

My column for the Washington County Daily News is in the paper today. Go buy a copy, but here’s a snippet:

Finally, unlike the previous governor, Walker actively recruits businesses to move to Wisconsin. There is no doubt that had it not been for Walker aggressively recruiting Foxconn, that multibillion-dollar investment would have gone to another state. Walker not only asked for the business, he closed the deal. A lesser governor would not have succeeded.

Wisconsin’s economy has made a complete turnaround under Walker and is heading in the right direction. It is a mistake to think that the state’s economy will continue in that direction under Tony Evers. Leadership matters and Wisconsin’s economy needs Walker to remain at the helm.

Evil Walmart Forces Cash into Employees’ Pockets

SHAME!

WEST BEND — More than 915,000 Walmart associates across the country received a share of more than $200 million in cash bonuses based on their stores’ second-quarter performance, the company announced Friday.

The bonuses were included in associates’ paycheck Thursday.

In Wisconsin, hourly associates received $4.33 million.

According to a news release, these bonuses came on the heels of the best performance for Walmart U.S. in more than 10 years — with comp sales growth (excluding fuel) of 4.5 percent — along with an increase in customer traffic of more than 2 percent.

Perhaps more interesting is that Walmart seems to be bucking the trend to online shopping while other brick-and-mortar retailers are dying. Or are all stores seeing a boost in this booming economy? It will be interesting to see the performance of other stores over the next few quarters.

Opioid Crisis Linked to Decreased Labor Force Participation

Speaking of West Virginia

The opioid crisis appears to be contributing to decreased labor force participation, especially in certain U.S. states, according to a chart by Deutsche Bank’s Torsten Slok.

Opioid use has been one of many driving forces behind higher disability rates, Yahoo Finance previously reported, which leads to more people being out of the labor force (even when the overall economy is humming).

West Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas are seeing a particularly high correlation between opioid prescriptions and lack of labor market participation, as indicated by this chart:

Torsten Slok / Deutsche Bank Research

Tesla’s Union Busting Ways

Huh. The darling of the Left hates unions. Can’t blame ’em.

Tesla and its billionaire owner, Elon Musk, have earned a reputation for union-busting efforts over the past few years. In February 2017, Musk accused a factory worker who outlined several issues within Tesla in a Medium blogpost of being a “union plant”. In an email, Musk also promised workers free frozen yogurt in a letter to employees that framed unionization efforts as an effort against Tesla by big car companies. The same month, Tesla employee Michael Sanchez alleged he was asked to leave the Tesla factory by security for handing out pro-union flyers outside to fellow employees.

The NLRB filed a complaint currently on trial over Musk’s alleged promise to workers in a June 2017 meeting to fix safety standard concerns if they refrained from efforts to form a union. Several similar charges against Tesla are currently under consideration by the NLRB, including one alleging surveillance and intimidation against workers attempting to form a union.

Complaints from workers over being fired for engaging in efforts to unionize at Tesla have become common. “I was a union supporter. I wore a union shirt almost every day to work and my supervisor at the time asked me why I wore it,” said Jim Owen, who left the Tesla factory in Fremont, California, in March 2018 due to concerns for his safety after a robot almost severely injured him while working on car hoods. “He told me upper management wouldn’t appreciate me wearing it.”

Wages Rise in Robust Economy

Fantastic! Wages are always a lagging metric. It’s good to see them rise.

Annual wage growth hit a nine-year high in the US last month as the economy created more jobs than expected.

Average hourly earnings rose by 0.4% in August, pushing the annual rate of increase to 2.9% – the fastest pace since June 2009.

Hiring in the construction sector and in professional services helped the economy to add 201,000 jobs last month.

The strong wage growth is likely to strengthen expectations of another rise in US interest rates later this month.

The US Federal Reserve, which has already raised rates twice this year, is due to meet on 25-26 September.

The dollar rose in response to the data. The dollar index – which measures the greenback against a group of major currencies – hit a two-day high.

Trump Signs Changes to Retirement Rules

Not that you need another example, but do you want to see an example of how rampant the media bias is? Check out this story from ABC News. Headline: “Trump signs retirement savings executive order in Charlotte.”

OK, that sounds important. Let’s read the story. Here’s how is starts:

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Friday in Charlotte, North Carolina, that would make it easier for small businesses to band together in associations to provide affordable retirement savings plans.

“Today’s historic action will provide new retirement security to countless American workers and their families. We believe all Americans should be able to retire with the confidence, dignity and economic security that you want,” Trump said.

That’s it. The remaining 17 paragraphs of the story are about unrelated things like comments from Trump, what he didn’t say about McCain at the event, stuff about federal pay wages, and on and on and on.

As someone who plans to retire someday, I actually clicked on the story in hopes of learning about what the executive order was about. How will it affect me? Do I need to make adjustments to my retirement plans?

ABC News didn’t think those details were important. Instead, they thought it was more important to report on stuff that Trump said, hinted, should have said, didn’t say, or whatever.

Well, if you’re curious, here are some details about the executive order that the President signed… and it’s pretty spectacular. The details will have to be finalized the requisite federal agencies, but the changes will give far greater access to tax-advantaged retirement plans to workers – particularly those who work for small businesses. It will also allow retirees to keep their money in their retirement plans for longer instead of being forced to withdraw it before they need it.

 

WeWork Might Become Largest Tenant in Manhattan

This is an interesting look into our shifting economy and the way businesses office.

WeWork could become the largest office tenant in Manhattan.

The company is negotiating a lease in 1 World Trade Center to take over about 200,000 square feet in the building, a source close to the deal told CNNMoney.

WeWork recently became the second-largest renter of office space in the borough, according to a Cushman & Wakefield report earlier this month. WeWork trails just about 74,000 square feetbehind JPMorgan’s New York tenancy. If the deal goes through, WeWork would surpass the bank.

That’s a feat for the New York-based coworking space company, which is just eight years old.

Crain’s New York Business first reported that WeWork was close to finalizing a lease at 1 World Trade Center. WeWork declined to comment.

Evil Foxconn Gives $100 Million to UW

Boy, I sure hope that Evers can kill the Foxconn deal. /sarcasm

Foxconn Technology Group will invest $100 million to UW-Madison that will go toward establishing an interdisciplinary research facility for the College of Engineering, the largest research partnership in the university’s history.

The Foxconn Institute for Research in Science and Technology, or FIRST, will collaborate closely with the company’s Wisconn Valley Science and Technology Park near Racine.

Foxconn CEO Terry Gou joined UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank for the Monday announcement, signing several agreements formalizing their relationship.

The gift is one of the largest in the school’s history, Blank said, and will help develop Wisconsin’s research and engineering talent.

Tariffs Cometh

Earlier this year, I was in the market for a new bicycle. An acquaintance and avid cyclist recommended bikesdirect.com to me. After doing some investigating, I ended up buying a new bike on the site. Although the site is spartan, the selection, prices, and customer service were excellent. I was very happy with the experience and really enjoyed my new bike.

Today, I got this email from them:

bikesdirecttariffs

Here are the notes from the email:

1) Today Several Bicycle Industry Experts Testified in Washington On the Increased Tariff on Complete Bicycles, Bicycle Parts and Accessories

2) 94% of Bicycles Sold in USA are from China, 97% of Kids Bikes are from China (most Bikesdirect Models are Not made in China)

3) Added 25% Tariff on Almost ALL eBikes Goes Into Effect August 23 Thursday. Many eBike Brands Are Increasing Prices Thursday (Example – one popular model going from $3500 MSRP to $5,000 MSRP)

4) Most Bicycle Distributors Are Not Running End of Year Discounts Due to Upcoming Increased Cost of 2019’s.

5) Alternative Factories in Other Countries Currently Booked To Near Capacity (Likely Bicycle Shortages Last Quarter of 2018)

6) NO BICYCLE COMPANY makes enough money to absorb a 25% increase in Cost. (However, Bikesdirect will always price bicycles below anyone in the industry)

7) Bikesdirect Will Strive to Hold Current Sale Prices Until The Bleeding Becomes Too Much To Bear

Tariffs are damaging our economy and costing Americans. If you won’t oppose tariffs because they are poor economic policy, think of the kids! They are all going to get even fatter without affordable bikes.

Greece Emerges From Bailout Plan

Be careful out there, folks. The Greeks can borrow again.

Greece has successfully completed a three-year eurozone emergency loan programme worth €61.9bn (£55bn; $70.8bn) to tackle its debt crisis.

It was part of the biggest bailout in global financial history, totalling some €289bn, which will take the country decades to repay.

Deeply unpopular cuts to public spending, a condition of the bailout, are set to continue.

But for the first time in eight years, Greece can borrow at market rates.

[…]

The economy has grown slowly in recent years and is still 25% smaller than when the crisis began.

[…]

While Greece’s economy has stabilised, its accumulated debt pile stands at about 180% of GDP.

As an American in a country with a $21 trillion national debt, I should really resist the urge to cast stones. Glass houses and whatnot.

As a side note in relation to the post below about the upcoming school referendum in West Bend, the district currently spends about $70.5 million per year from the general fund and another $26.5 million per year from other funds. Total, that’s about $97 million per year. If we equate the school spending budget (economic output) to GDP, then the current debt load for the district is about 134% of annual budget. If the referendum passes, the total debt load for the district will be about 222% of annual budget. Smart? No.

Wisconsin is Working

Positive news. What I really like to see is that it appears that more people are coming off of the sidelines and entering the labor market.

Wisconsin added 9,100 private sector jobs in July and the state’s unemployment rate remained 2.9 percent, according to federal Bureau of Labor Statistics data released by the state Department of Workforce Development.

An increase of 2,800 jobs in leisure and hospitality, 2,400 in durable goods manufacturing and 2,300 in education and health services helped drive the increase.

Professional and business services was the only sector with a decrease in employment, down 1,300. Government employment was also down 400.

The state’s labor force participation rate remained unchanged at 68.9 percent. The number of people classified as unemployed increased 1,800 to 92,900. Overall employment decreased 2,000.

Increasing Number of Elderly Declare Bankruptcy

This is a concerning trend.

Older Americans are filing for bankruptcy at more than double the rate of just 25 years ago, a sign of a “coming storm of broke elderly,” a new study finds.

The rate of people 65 and over filing for bankruptcy grew nearly 204 percent from 1991 to 2016, a study published by the Social Science Research Network found, and the percentage of seniors among all U.S. bankruptcy filers increased by nearly five times over the same period.

Researchers looking at data from the Consumer Bankruptcy Project found that high health care costs, combined with reduced incomes and the widespread decline of pensions, are all contributing to the growing trend of “financially broken retirees.”

Deborah Thorne, one of the study’s authors from the University of Idaho, said “it’s not an individual’s fault” when they have to file for bankruptcy, citing issues with retirement systems and Medicare.

Wait… what? “”it’s not an individual’s fault” when they have to file for bankruptcy”??? Whose fault is it, then? Part of the problem is that people aren’t taking responsibility for their own financial affairs. They behave as if magic pixies flew into their bank accounts and spent all of their money. Except in rare circumstances, almost every bankruptcy is an individual’s fault. Let’s think about this for a minute.

For years, we have seen Americans saving way too little.

Northwestern Mutual’s 2018 Planning & Progress Study, which surveyed 2,003 adults, found that 21 percent of Americans have nothing saved at all for their golden years, and a third of Americans have less than $5,000. To put that into perspective, it means that 31 percent of U.S. adults could last only a few months on their savings if they had to retire tomorrow.

[…]

Young people who haven’t had as much time to save aren’t skewing the statistics, either. The report found that 33 percent of boomers have $25,000 or less in retirement savings.

Whose fault is that? It’s the individual’s fault, of course. Many, many people can save more, but choose not too. They choose to buy stuff now instead of putting that money into an investment or savings account. We live in a consumption culture and people consume at a rate far higher than their means. The lack of savings, often coupled with massive personal debt, leave far too many people without the means to deal with even a relatively minor life emergency like a medical bill, car accident, flooded basement, or whatever. They are unable to afford these unlikely, but not unexpected, events.
And why do most people go bankrupt? The top 5 reasons are:
1) Medical expenses
2) Job loss
3) Poor/Excessive use of credit
4) Divorce/separation
5) Unexpected expenses
#3 is obviously an individual’s fault. Most of the other causes can be weathered for a while if people are frugal and save money when times are good. People are going to lose jobs… it happens. Divorces happen. Medical expenses happen. Storms happen. Plan for it. Save. Don’t run up debt. If it doesn’t happen to you, then you still won’t regret having saved the money.

There are rare circumstances where an individual could be said to not be at fault for their financial condition. A major economic depression or natural disaster, for example. A lengthy, expensive medical issue, for example. But if an unexpected $5,000 bill pushes you into bankruptcy, it’s your fault. You planned poorly.

Our culture increasingly seeks to absolve individuals of any responsibility for the choices they make (see: abortion). But while the final incident that pushes someone into bankruptcy may not be their fault, the fact they were so vulnerable to bankruptcy is usually the result of a thousand bad decisions made up to that point.

Managed Economy = Barren Shelves

Every time.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The nation’s largest legal marijuana market is struggling.

Illicit sales continue to thrive. A shaky supply chain has customers looking at barren shelves in some shops. There are testing problems. And a proposal to allow home marijuana deliveries in cities that have banned pot sales could lead to a courtroom fight.

A Los Angeles hearing Tuesday provided a window into the state’s emerging cannabis economy, in which early enthusiasm for broad legal sales has been followed by anxiety and frustration across a swath of the industry.

The state’s top marijuana regulator, Lori Ajax, said after the hearing that the state remains in a challenging transition period as it attempts to transform what was once a largely illegal market into a multibillion-dollar, regulated economy.

Putting aside whether or not you think pot should be legal, this is a case study of the free market. Instead of just making pot legal and letting the private sector bring it to market, California chose to heavily regulate the market from growing to distribution to consumption. The result was inevitable… barren shelves and a blossoming black market. Government bureaucrats trying to manage a market will never be as successful or efficient as millions of people making independent decisions in a free market.

New Zealand Bans Foreigners From Buying Most Real Estate

Interesting.

The country’s parliament on Wednesday passed a law banning foreigners from buying into most parts of its residential property market as the government seeks to cool red-hot house prices.

The Overseas Investment Amendment Bill will prevent overseas investors from purchasing existing properties in New Zealand, but they will still be able to buy into new apartment complexes and certain other parts of the housing market.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern campaigned on a promise to clamp down on foreign buyers, blaming them for soaring prices that have left many New Zealanders unable to enter the property market.

[…]

Most foreign buyers in New Zealand don’t state where they’re from, official data shows, but the majority of those who do are from China.

New Zealand has also proved to be a popular retreat for the rich and famous. Billionaire investor Peter Thiel and disgraced former NBC host Matt Lauer both own properties in the country.

The Chinese, in particular, are buying property all over the world – especially in America.

Why?

Thanks to their booming economy, there are a lot of Chinese people who have a lot of money. But they still live in a totalitarian regime where their assets can be seized or they can be cast out at any time. There is no real protection for private property in China. So what do you do if you are a wealthy Chinese businessman and you don’t want your assets to evaporate by the whim of a dictator? You buy property in other countries that protect private property. That way, if something happens in China, at least you still have a pot of gold buried somewhere for your family.

Musk Runs

Heh

Elon Musk’s latest big idea is daring even by his standards: He wants to turn Tesla into a private company.

He stunned investors on Tuesday with a tweet saying he had already lined up the funding, and he told employees that it would relieve the electric car company of the “enormous pressure” of Wall Street’s expectations.

Someone doesn’t like anyone looking over his shoulder and holding him accountable to his commitments.

Tariff War Escalates

Make it stop!

China has announced plans to put tariffs of up to 25% on US products worth $60 billion, the latest salvo in an escalating trade war.

The Chinese government said Friday that it would impose duties of 25%, 20%, 10% and 5% on the products if the Trump administration follows through on threats to tax $200 billion of Chinese goods.

Do you know who wins tariff wars? Government. Tariffs are just another outflow of cash from consumers to government. Meanwhile, consumers and our economy suffers.

Guidelines for corporate welfare

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News yesterday.

As each day passes, the deal that Gov. Scott Walker struck with Foxconn to incent them to build a massive facility in Wisconsin continues to look better. Foxconn has already expanded its original commitment to Wisconsin to include additional facilities in Milwaukee, Eau Claire and Green Bay. Now that the Foxconn deal has set a benchmark, some lawmakers, including Walker, are seeking to give Kimberly- Clark a similar package to keep a plant, and more than 600 jobs, in Wisconsin. The Legislature should reject such a deal, but they should set some broad criteria for when they would consider doling out taxpayer incentives.

Conservatives philosophically reject corporate welfare of any kind for many reasons. Using the coercive power of government to tax citizens for the purpose of handing it to other citizens is vexing. Furthermore, government intervention anywhere in a market distorts that market and makes it less efficient. Politicians spending other people’s money have the least vested interest in any business decision and are prone to making poor decisions. And there is always the risk of graft and corruption when politicians are making arbitrary decisions about which businesses will receive a handout.

There are many factors that go into a business decision about where to locate new businesses. Most of those factors have little to do with government. Access to natural resources, a labor force, proximity to customers and suppliers, etc., weigh heavily on those decisions. Also considered are the broad government policy aspects of a given location like tax rates, quality infrastructure, regulatory requirements, etc.

Wisconsin already has a legendary workforce and abundant natural resources.

In an ideal world, the state’s tax and regulatory burden would be so reasonable that businesses that could locate here would be fools for not doing so. Unfortunately, despite great improvement under Republican leadership, the weight of government in Wisconsin still makes it a more expensive place to live and do business than most other states. Absent a drastic reduction in the size and expense of government, Wisconsin state government must seek ways to level the playing field with other states and incent businesses to move here.

The taxpayers are not a bottomless well of money and state lawmakers need to be good stewards of the taxpayers’ money under their care. If Wisconsin’s politicians are going to use the taxpayers’ money to incent businesses to grow in the state, they need to adhere to some general principles to guide them. Business decisions are naturally complex. Every decision must be weighed with the facts presented, but there must be some general philosophy underlying the decisions.

First, the result of any incentive package should be a net economic gain for the state. For example, the projected economic impact of Foxconn measures in the tens of billions of dollars for an incentive plan costing a fraction of that. For Kimberly-Clark, the proposed plan is to maintain a business that already exists.

Second, any incentive package must include specific, measurable benchmarks for the business receiving the incentives and hold them accountable to those benchmarks. This requires interested, diligent work on the part of the overseeing state agency and the Legislature for years after the politicians who granted the incentives are out of office. If businesses know they can promise the moon without any accountability, it undermines the effectiveness and integrity of any deal.

Third, the incentives must be structured in a sensible way for the taxpayers. For example, an incentive package that forgoes future tax revenue that would not be realized anyway without the business meeting its commitments is far preferable to an immediate expenditure of existing money.

Fourth, Wisconsin’s politicians should not try to use taxpayer-financed incentives to fight larger economic trends. Our economy is constantly changing with entire industries being created and collapsing. Using incentives to attract growing industries to Wisconsin is preferable to using them to prop up dying industries.

Finally, tax incentives should only be used as a last resort and not to put icing on a decision that is already made for other reasons. If a business is already going to locate or expand in Wisconsin because of other reasons, then Wisconsin’s politicians should not waste taxpayer money on incentives just because the business asked for them.

Perhaps there will come a day when Wisconsin’s tax and regulatory burdens are so sensible that businesses will flock here like they do to some other states. Until then, the judicious use of taxpayer money for incentives will be a reality we cannot avoid if we are going to compete in the global economy.