Latest Viewpoints

Follow the Money on Governor's Train Purchase

Have you ever noticed that the two major political parties take turns wearing out their welcome?

After their historic victory in 1994, it took Republicans 12 years to do that — a bungled war based on a false premise certainly helped — but Democrats may be fast-tracking their next demise. Nationally, the President's health care reform plan may have "Blue Dog" Democrats nervous, but closer to home Governor Jim Doyle is busy making himself a target-rich environment.

Letter to the Prez: Time to Yank Some Chains on Health Care

An open letter to President Barack Obama:

Dear Mr. President,

Your poll numbers are dipping. Your credibility is eroding. As you no doubt know, your health care reform plan is in big trouble and did not make it out of the House or Senate by the August recess. Now you'll be lucky to sign meaningful reform by year's end.

Selling Your Ideas: Leadership in Action

In a discussion with the CEO of a large Wisconsin corporation, our focus began to narrow down to the effectiveness of his leadership team. As we got into the heart of the meeting, I asked: "If there were one thing that your managers and supervisors could start doing now that would have the most positive and dramatic impact on your company, what would it be?"

His answer may surprise you, as it did me: "If everyone in a leadership position in our company acted more like a professional salesperson, life would be much easier."

UW Hospital Discovery Raises

The current push for health care reform has its origins in more than a few events and circumstances, including a devastating 1999 report on hospital errors.

While I'm not prepared to characterize what happened recently at UW Hospital as a medical error, the incident raises "best practice" questions.

Dubis Counterpoints Dubis: Imputed Rent: When a home is an investment.

The last article seemed to strike a chord with some readers. The primary source of contention from my last piece was a matter of semantics, not necessarily a real difference of opinion. My goal for the last piece was to simply offer readers a way to segment a home purchase decision from their investment considerations.

A few readers asked for me to expand on the idea of imputed rent. I glazed over it in the last article because it is an abstract concept, but I submit here with the right mode of thinking, a home could be an investment.

Analyzing Economic Base and Employment Through a Different Lens | submitted by Michael Gay

A discussion surrounding a job has probably hit just about every other dinner table in Madison or this country sometime in the last year. Really, very few families don’t know someone that has been affected by changes in employment. A job for most in this world is the key to self worth, owning a home, supporting a family, entertainment, education, and health insurance, among other things.

Madison’s Amtrak home hasn’t necessarily left the station

Barry Gore isn’t trying to be a fly in the ointment, but he is creating some buzz about the location of Madison’s new Amtrak Station. It’s probably not the kind of buzz that Mayor Dave Cieslewicz appreciates, but that’s not stopping a last-minute plea regarding the location of Madison’s new Amtrak Station.

Stimulus 2.0? Forget about it.

There is nothing more ridiculous than giving ammo to your political opponents, but national Democrats appear to be doing just that in suggesting a second stimulus bill.

The Critical Factor (Problem Solving 101)

There is a story about a man who was constantly annoyed with ringing in his ears, bulging eyes, and a flushed face. Over a period of years, he saw several experts — both traditional and non-traditional. After a number of years, he had had his tonsils and appendix removed, his wisdom teeth extracted, and had been on almost every conceivable diet. He even spent a month in Tibet being mentored by a wise old monk.

State Budget Pork, Greater Madison

These are some examples of the porky spending as cited by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. I included environmental projects, but did not include transportation projects because there is no way to judge whether public safety is really involved.

Rumors aside, Doyle doesn't look ready to pack it in.

Governor Jim Doyle may be down in the polls, but during a recent economic forum at UW-Madison, he didn't look like a guy that wants out of the Governor's Mansion. He looked like a guy who was ready to take on all comers next year, despite some chatter that he won't seek a third term.

A Different Type of Gaming | submitted by Michael Gay

I hadn't thought much about gaming (formerly known as video games in IT Luddite circles) until a couple of years ago when I saw the "Last Lecture." I have to admit that I watched the video for its personal message (and a powerful one at that), but the side of my brain where economic development lingers realized that this prof was onto something (using games to teach) and he was visionary in his thoughts and approach.

The Next Blog du Jour submitted by Salli Martyniak

I've been swamped but that doesn't mean I haven't give thought to writing this blog — but thinking and doing are definitely two different things. While thinking (rather than just doing), I also seriously pondered about the next "blog du jour" — and there were many.

Historic Opportunity for Health Care Reform

Once-in-a-lifetime opportunities are too important to miss, and Robert Kraig, program director for Citizen Action of Wisconsin, believes the health care reform debate in Congress is just such an opportunity.

Your Home is an Asset, but Not an Investment.

In the past two articles, I wrote about the basic starting point for the financial planning process and investments. I would be remiss not to affirm with you that a home is a valuable cornerstone to your financial life, but it is not an investment.

State Budget: Businesses Escape Sales Tax Nightmare

To many (mostly conservative) critics, the budget that passed out of the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee in late May is a fiscal abomination, but Wayne Corey has relatively few complaints. One would think the executive director of Wisconsin Independent Businesses would hop on the abomination bandwagon, but he says the budget is noteworthy for what it does not contain as much as for what it does.

How about a Wonderful Life Moment for Dinys

By now, most of you know the wolf may be at the door for Diny's Jewelers, a 26-year-old business that is trying to remain open with a huge hopefully-not-going-out-of-business sale. They've slashed their prices up to 70%.

In Business magazine