The Fox Valley Initiative is alarmed about the creation of the Fox–Wisconsin Heritage Parkway:
The proposed Fox–Wisconsin Heritage Parkway (FWHP) stretches from Green Bay to Prairie du Chien. It will include 1,444 square-miles which run through the heart of 45 communities and 15 counties. If the proposal is approved by Congress and the President, 1,382,293 Wisconsin property owners, citizens and businesses will suddenly find themselves within the boundaries of a National Heritage Area (NHA).
This designation has been requested by an unelected, local special-interest group — Friends of the Fox (FOTF). Since about 1997, federal funds have been provided this group, along with planning expertise, to develop the parkway plan. Only now, a full 15 years later, is this plan finally coming to the attention of Private-Property Owners (PPO) whose property will fall within the designated area. The planner’s decision to include land owners within the boundaries, without notifying them, immediately confirms their lack of concern for the rights of these individuals. To have thousands of individuals wake up one morning and, without warning, find their property is in a federal park is the ultimate violation of private-property rights.
U.S. Rep. Tom Petri (R–Fond du Lac), who has a primary opponent Aug. 14, thinks the concerns about the FWHP are overstated. Jerry Bader has the Fox Valley Initiative’s blog and Petri’s (actually, a Petri staffer’s) response.
Bader reports; you decide.
Matthew Schoenfeld in the Wall Street Journal:
Critics today often point to the 1950s as the last years before American society became so divided between haves and have-nots. At the end of that decade, America’s “Gini coefficient”—the most common measure of income inequality, running from 0 (least unequal) to 1 (most unequal)—was 0.37. Today it is 0.45.
But in 1959, more than 20% of families fell below the poverty line. In 2010 that figure was just over 13%. Real per capita GDP today is 270% higher than it was in 1959. A family in the bottom fifth of the income distribution today makes the same amount in real terms as a family earning the median income in 1950. So inequality might have increased, but so too—dramatically—has quality of life.
Even over the last two decades, while real income has essentially stagnated for the bottom fifth of earners, basic conveniences have become far more affordable. In 1992, only 20% of American families below the poverty line had a dishwasher—50% had air conditioning and 60% owned a microwave. When the Census Bureau last surveyed these figures in 2005, those figures were 37%, 79% and 91%, respectively. Critics who minimize the importance of these conveniences likely have never had to do without them. …
Certainly there are reasons for concern if lower-income Americans aren’t able to save or acquire sufficient capital to pursue innovative ideas, or to see their children attend decent schools. They will suffer, and the country will lose out on significant intellectual capital and growth opportunities. But this should not be confused with inequality.
Equality is not a good in itself and shouldn’t be analyzed in a vacuum. If we remember that, perhaps a century from now low-income Americans will pity the living standards of today’s 1%.
This is a slow day in rock music, save for one particular birthday and one death.
It’s not Tony Jackson of the Searchers …
… or Tom Boggs, drummer for the Box Tops …