Memo to those who believe business is something to be mined, not cultivated:
Former Mayor Paul Soglin has been on a tear recently, blaming WMC for "bad-mouthing" the state's economic climate, as if Fortune 500 companies don't have their own economic research and tax departments. And, of course, the afternoon Progressive Dane newspaper's take on the economy is to call for higher taxes in the teeth of a recession.
When did they quit teaching economics in the schools?
I have written before about the timidity of Madison's business community. The exceptions prove the rule. There are not enough people like property maven Terence Wall, who regularly jousts with Madison's Progressive Dane cadres, and Gene Bennett of Bennett's Meadowood Country Club, whose ad this week encourages the Madison City Council to follow the Division of Motor Vehicles to Fitchburg.
New Chamber chairman Mark Bugher showed a flash of mettle when he quit Mayor Dave's Economic Development Commission over the appointment of a Progressive Dane cadre member but I'd like to see more consistency.
So it oxygenated the blood to read an op ed in Sunday's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel from one of the top businessmen in the entire state, John S. Shiely, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Briggs & Stratton Corp. His piece is so important that it ought to drive state economic development policy. By implication, it damns the Maier, Norquist, Barrett regimes. It also points up that, try as Tommy Thompson did, Milwaukee cannot be governed from the state capitol in Madison.
Read Milwaukee, think Madison
I am going to excerpt madly from his piece but when you read "Milwaukee" think "Madison:" Shiely writes:
"The most important thing Milwaukee community leaders could do to improve our prospects for economic development in this region was to bury the vestiges of the old Milwaukee socialist ethic by abandoning the local zero-sum culture that views all wealth creation as coming at someone's expense and embrace an integrative, pie-expanding view."
Shiely decried those who believe that:
"... Prosperity only comes to a political economy when it increases taxes, promulgates more burdensome regulations and nationalizes various industries. If this Hugo Chavez brand of 'economics' is what MATC is teaching the next generation work force, it's no wonder we have a problem."
Even more audacious, in rejecting the "two Americas" rhetoric, he advises:
"... Embrace wealth creation. This is hard for some in Milwaukee to grasp, but the folks with money are the capital providers, and there is no prosperity without capital formation. These are the people who fund charitable and cultural initiatives that are generally more effective than government."
The piece is entitled "Somehow, we have to put an end to Milwaukee's zero-sum culture" and it deserves to be read in its entirety.
It already has gotten veteran lefty Jim Rowen's goat. He accuses the CEO of having "a counter-productive meltdown."
He actually seems to believe that!
One of my favorite local writers is William R. Wineke of the Wisconsin State Journal, although he seems to have been de-emphasized in the remake of the newspaper. You may have missed his tiny, four-line review at the very bottom of page C3 in Sunday's paper of a book called Fear and Courage in the Democratic Party. Here is the totality of his review:
"The author thinks the future of the Democratic Party is with organizations like Moveon.org. He actually seems to believe that."
Missing in inaction
Which reminded me: I've been following the Democrat(ic) presidential candidates. They don't seem to be hanging with Moveon.org, Amy Goodman, Michael Moore, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson or the other dingbats of the Far Left. Have they been (cue the Church Lady's Satan voice) marginalized?
Another "liberal" word.