Sunday, May 07, 2006

Soglin Economic Analysis

I never considered longtime Madison Mayor Paul Soglin unintelligent, but either he is using his blog to sharpen his partisan bitterness skills at the expense rational analysis, or there are some big gaps in his understanding of the way the world works. I read his analysis of a paper mill closing, then read the source story and find my self wondering if he actually read the source story himself.

Long story short, a paper plant in Park Falls, WI has closed because of a convergence of several factors. The global economy is growing which means that other countries are making paper and the effect of increased supply is to bring the product cost down. To make matters worse for existing manufactures, this happens at exactly the same time more and more business work is being done electronically, meaning a diminished demand for paper products. Finally the plant in question is one with only outdated and inefficient machinery.

From this factual baseline, Soglin concludes that Republican control of the Wisconsin Legislature is to blame for the plant closing because the Republicans “advocated for more international trade so that Wisconsin Paper could not compete paying decent salaries with companies that pay a few dollars a day to their workers.” Even worse the majority party "failed to protect all of us, not just the mill workers and the loggers, as the entire state must deal with the economic impact of the mill closings". The most heinous crime of the right wing may be that they “ignored the reality that for the private sector to survive, the public sector must invest in infrastructure”.

If I understand mayor emeritus correctly, he is implying that the Park Falls paper mill would still be operational if democrats controlled the legislature in addition to the governorship. This is because Wisconsin democrats work against international trade and for protectionism. Someone should forward the email to Governor Doyle about no more foreign trade travel and remind him of the Democrats commitment to infrastructure like, for example, our roads. It may also help if Soglin would call the print shop to change the party letterhead to the new slogan: Wisconsin Democrats: Protecting our Voters from the Reality of the Modern World.