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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Despite Paul Ryan, Janesville's Turnaround Sparked By Government

Here they go again. Another story about Janesville's modest economic recovery and in the typically bizarre fashion of partisan journalism, mixing in a story about VP candidate Paul Ryan as if it is even remotely possible that the two are somehow interconnected. They're not. Not even close.

Posted in the Wisconsin State Journal and titled, In Janesville, political spotlight and hundreds of new jobs are sparking local economy, but should have been, "Despite Paul Ryan, Janesville's turnaround sparked by government." Just to state the obvious here, this article should have been separate articles.

To make his point about Janesville's growing economy, the writer takes the liberty to name a handful of businesses in the Janesville area that have expanded or are in the process of expanding, including the new start-up medical technologies firm, SHINE. No problem. All of the people behind these businesses have accepted some level of risk in their private-for-profit venture as it should be. But what the writer failed to mention is that nearly every jobs growth and business expansion described in the article has been seeded by government action in one form or another.

I won't be picking out each business and matching them with the help they requested, but rest assured that the government assistance includes "forgivable" loans, taxpayer funded rental lease agreements, TIF District surplus cash, employee quota-based city tax credits, state funded tax credits and enterprise zones, government contracts, Federal grants and government guaranteed loans, just to name a few. Some have even received free land paid for by the local taxpayers. Yet, the word "government" or a rundown of the taxpayer funded incentives spurring the business growth does not appear in the article at all.

Okay, so we have an article naming some of the businesses behind Janesville's recovery over the past two years. Big deal, right? But out of the blue, the writer drops Paul Ryan in to finish off the second half of the piece. Truly bizarre, but this actually could have been a good premise to build on only if the writer made an attempt to inform voters of Ryan's diametrically opposing Atlas Shrugged mentality to the government stimulus blueprint (failed policies according to Ryan) driving Janesville's economic turnaround. But the writer did not. In short, there is absolutely no relationship between Janesville's economic recovery and Paul Ryan, unless your aim is to expose that non-relationship, the contradictions or the co-opted business base.

Instead, he omitted the role of government entirely and then used the modest recovery as a positive backdrop for Ryan by linking supporting abstracts and comments from several willing locals to defend Ryan's dubious RNC comments about Obama breaking promises he never made to Janesville GM workers. Yeah they said, Ryan "has local values" and "he understands the working man's point of view."

Just wild.

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