Spring 2017

Spend some time digesting this issue

In this note, I usually try to highlight the most important stories in this magazine. But this time, my message is simpler: Read it. The whole thing.

From our cover story on the “American carnage” of the opioid epidemic to Nigel Ashford’s useful guide to “classical liberalism,” this issue of Wisconsin Interest is a remarkable collection of outstanding journalism and thoughtful conservative commentary. As such, it’s proof that both are still possible in the Age of Trump.

Dan Benson dismantles the claim that Milwaukee isn’t getting its fair share of state aid, Brian Reisinger analyzes the tax shift underlying Wisconsin’s Managed Forest Law program, and Mike Nichols and Jan Uebelherr continue to expose how Wisconsin’s arcane occupational licensing requirements block economic opportunity.

In our Frontlines profile, Sunny Schubert talks with University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Kathy Cramer, whose groundbreaking research into the disaffection of rural voters has done so much to explain last year’s election. Richard Esenberg discusses the challenges facing conservatives in the wake of the 2016 election results.

But, by all means, make sure you spend some time with our portrait of the opioid crisis — how it came about and the human cost of this rolling disaster here in Wisconsin. Fortunately, Gov. Scott Walker and the Legislature are addressing the crisis. But as Ike Brannon and Devorah Goldman report, the number of Wisconsinites who die every year from a drug overdose now “exceeds the number who die from motor vehicle crashes, suicide, breast cancer, colon cancer, firearms, influenza or HIV.”

— Charles J. Sykes

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Spring Dispatches

It's not politics as usual anymore.
By Charles J. Sykes


A deadly grip

► Wisconsin's opioid scourge: Its origins and possible solutions. By Ike Brannon and Devorah Goldman
► Slow descent into darkness. By Jan Uebelherr
► A toll on rural Wisconsin. By Mike Nichols and Jan Uebelherr


Guest Opinion

What being a "classical liberal" really means.
By Nigel Ashford


On the Frontlines with Kathy Cramer

Rural resentment laid bare: A profile of the UW professor who authored "The Politics of Resentment."
By Sunny Schubert


Taxing decisions

Wisconsin's Managed Forest Law program gives tax breaks to some, while it shifts burden to others.
By Brian Reisinger


Occupational licensure

► A system run amok: Our government is killing jobs and thwarting business creation. By Mike Nichols
► Licensing complaints often have nothing to do with health or safety concerns. By Jan Uebelherr


Milwaukee: 'Donor' or drain?

Mayor argues for more shared revenue but doesn't count all state aid and ignores proposed increases.
By Dan Benson


Culture Con

Conservatives must keep their eyes on the prize.
By Richard Esenberg