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Category “Economics”

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Final Numbers for “Cash for Clunkers” Show it Didn’t Do Much Economically

Most damning about this study, is that it comes from the liberal-leaning Brookings Institute.  Which, unlike the talking point-producers at the Center for American Progress, actually does legitimate academic work.

The Brookings Institution this week released an analysis of the government’s 2009 Cash for Clunkers program, which briefly offered drivers a chance to trade in older vehicles for new ones with a subsidy from Uncle Sam.

The Brookings paper found, as other government reports have, that the incentives didn’t change employment much and were more costly than other stimulus methods. Though Arizona wasn’t singled out, there are signs the program fared no better here.

The program cost taxpayers $2.85 billion and took 678,000 clunkers off the roads nationally. Those who took part received, on average, $4,200 in rebates, according to Brookings.

Overwhelmingly, the program took trucks off the road and replaced them with passenger cars.

It boosted vehicle sales 14 percent in July 2009 and 28 percent in August of that year.

That was welcome news for auto dealers, who saw sales plummet during the Great Recession. But Brookings found that sales reverted to dismal levels once the clunkers program ended, suggesting that many of the sales would have happened anyway.

Even more troubling, the cost per job created was $1.4 million, far higher than other measures, like increasing aid to the unemployed, which cost $95,000 per job, and reducing payroll taxes for companies that add workers, which clocked in at $80,000.

So in short: “Cash for Clunkers” successfully removed nearly 700,000 older vehicles — many of which would have been replaced in a year or two anyway — from American highways and driveways.  More trucks were taken off the roads more than any other type of vehicle.  It accelerated car sales two months before they were likely to happen anyway.

It also…substantially killed the used car market by removing older, still viable vehicles which could have been resold.  Probably did more damage to the environment as “recycling” an engine block does more damage due to the chemicals used to do it versus the carbon footprint the “clunker” would have put out.  It also cost nearly $1.5 million for each job produced.

No wonder I loathe Keynesian economic models so much…

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Amazon Wants to Build in Kenosha

All for this for a number of reasons.

1) Anything that gets me what I’ve ordered from Amazon.com, be it a book, game, tech gadget or Christmas nick-nack for my mom, it will now arrive about two days faster.

2) This will drive liberals nuts with Walker on the jobs front.  Especially since Amazon wants to open it in the Fall of 2014, right in the middle of the gubernatorial campaign.

3) Amazon is notoriously anti-union. (Read here.)  So it will drive the #WIUnion folks nuts.  Makes you wonder if there’s an effort going on right now behind the scenes in Kenosha to try to kill the project until Amazon puts in a union shop.  (Just a hint here, it ain’t gonna happen.  Amazon will not let unions in.)

One of the world’s best known companies wants to bring lots of jobs to Kenosha. City leaders have confirmed internet giant Amazon is seeking to build a massive distribution center East of I-94 and 38th Street.

“It’s a project we haven’t seen in Kenosha in a long time with the economic downturn,” said Alderman Dan Prozanski.

Prozanski said the company plans on creating more than 1,000 full-time jobs. He said the average starting pay will be around $13 per hour.

Amazon will invest around $250 million dollars. The sprawling facility will be around 1.5 million square feet. That’s slightly larger than the footprint of Miller Park.

This is going to be a huge facility, probably replacing either its facility in Kentucky or Indiana as a way to better service the upper Midwest.   Keep in mind this is part of a massive nearly $14 Billion project where the company is building warehouses and distribution centers across the globe.

They plan on opening three in Poland alone.

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GAB to be Subject to Audit

Frankly, this timely.  If the federal government demands audits of many corporations’ books every five years, than the same should apply to any and all government agencies.

Just think of all the trouble which could be avoided?

Wisconsin lawmakers have ordered an audit of the agency that oversees elections and enforcement of the state’s ethics and lobbying laws.

The audit approved Tuesday will be the first ever for the Government Accountability Board, which was created in 2008. The Joint Legislative Audit Committee voted unanimously to have the audit performed.

The audit will be done by the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau.

The audit will examine several aspects of the board’s operations, including its overall management, training and education it provides others, spending, and its process for investigating and resolving complaints.

Since the GAB’s been around five years itself, why should it be afraid of having to open its books?

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Lou Gentine to Retire from Head of Sargento Foods

These are some enormous shoes for his son to fill.

Lou Gentine, chairman and CEO of Plymouth-based Sargento Foods Inc., announced Monday he will retire at the end of the year and that the company’s board of directors has approved the promotion of Louie Gentine, his son, to CEO.

The elder Gentine will retain his position as chairman of the board, the company said in a news release Monday evening.

Lou is a second-generation family owner of Sargento, succeeding his father, Leonard, and has served as CEO since 1981 and chairman since 1996. During his tenure, company sales have increased from $80 million to $1.2 billion and employment has increased from 300 to more 1,600, the company said in a news release announcing Gentine’s retirement.

Louie Gentine has served as president and chief customer officer the past four years.

There’s a few personal connections my family has to the Gentines.  I personally got to meet Lou a few times over the years at various Sheboygan Co. GOP events.  He and the rest of the Gentines have long been philanthropic for a number of Lakeshore and conservatives causes.

(This isn’t “new news,” Sargento was targeted by the unionistas for boycott post-Act 10, because they apparently like to see Wisconsin workers suffer if their livelihood doesn’t come from the public trough.)

Also, one of my older sisters probably got to meet and know Lou Gentine the best.  She was one of his mother’s caretakers back when she used to work as a CNA at a nursing home at the time Mrs. Gentine passed away.  She since has left to work for an Aurora-run hospital.

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