SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME
THE JARDIANCE COMMERCIAL IS DRIVING ME INSANE
YOU KNOW THE ONE
WITH THE SINGING LADY
THE SONG HADN’T BEEN IN MY HEAD FOR MONTHS
PROBABLY BECAUSE I WASN’T WATCHING MUCH LIVE TV
BUT THEN FOOTBALL SEASON STARTED
AND BASEBALL STARTED SCREAMING TOWARD THE PLAYOFFS
AND NOW I’M SEEING A LOT OF COMMERCIALS AGAIN
AND, YUP, THERE IT IS
LOOK AT THESE MANIACS
JUST RUNNING AROUND THEIR LITTLE DOWNTOWN DOING CHOREOGRAPHY
AND SINGING A SONG ABOUT DIABETES MEDICINE
IMAGINE YOU WAKE UP AFTER A ROUGH NIGHT OF SLEEP
LET’S SAY YOU HAVE A CRANKY BABY WHO CRIES A LOT
AND YOU HAVE THIRTY MINUTES BEFORE YOUR ALARM GOES OFF
OUT YOUR WINDOW
THE WHOLE TOWN DOING A MUSICAL NUMBER ABOUT DIABETES MEDICINE
WOULD YOU SCREAM AND/OR THROW THINGS?
WHY IS THE MAILMAN TELLING ME ABOUT PRESCRIPTION MEDICATION?
HE’S NOT A DOCTOR
NO OFFENSE TO MAILMEN
IT’S AN IMPORTANT JOB
BUT IT’S NOT LIKE YOU SEE YOUR MAILMAN OUTSIDE AND ARE LIKE “HOLD ON, HONEY, MAIL’S COMING AND I NEED TO HAVE SOMEONE LOOK AT THIS MOLE?”
THAT MOLE COULD BE CANCEROUS
GO SEE YOUR DOCTOR, JEFF
HEY, SPEAKING OF MADNESS
DID YOU KNOW THERE’S A SECOND VERSION OF THIS COMMERCIAL?
IT’S ALMOST EXACTLY THE SAME
THERE ARE ONLY TWO BIG DIFFERENCES
ONE IS THAT THE LADY STARTS OUT ON A BUS INSTEAD OF A STOOP
WHICH IS FINE
BUT THE OTHER IS…
WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE?
DOES THE MAILMAN HAVE A SIDE-HUSTLE SELLING PRODUCE ON THE SIDEWALK?
DO… DO MAILMEN NOT GET PAID WELL ENOUGH TO GET BY WITHOUT A SECOND JOB?
WHO IS DELIVERING THE MAIL IF THE MAILMAN IS SELLING… LEMONS, APPARENTLY?
IS THIS ONE ON A SATURDAY OR SUNDAY?
OR DOES THE MAILMAN HAVE A TWIN BROTHER WHO HAS THE SAME MUSTACHE AND SELLS FRESH PRODUCE IN THE TOWN SQUARE?
AND, EITHER WAY, THE SAME RULES APPLY ABOUT GOING TO SEE YOUR DOCTOR FOR ACTUAL MEDICAL ADVICE
“JEFF, DID YOU GET LEMONS WHILE YOU WERE OUT?”
“YES, AND THE FRUIT GUY SAYS I NEED AN MRI ON MY KNEE.”
COME ON, GUY
WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE?
IS THE COMMERCIAL FOR THE DIABETES MEDICINE ALSO
A BEHIND-THE-SCENES DOCUMENTARY ABOUT THE MAKING OF THE COMMERCIAL ABOUT THE DIABETES MEDICINE?
WHICH VERSION HAD WE BEEN WATCHING UNTIL THIS POINT?
THE MUSICAL OR THE MAKING OF THE MUSICAL?
WHAT KIND OF HELL SPIRAL ARE WE IN HERE?
DO YOU SEE?
DO YOU SEE WHY I’VE BEEN TYPING IN CAPS THIS WHOLE TIME?
WHO IS IN CHARGE HERE?
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS?
SOMEONE ANSWER ME
SOMEONE EMAIL ME TO EXPLAIN THIS
IS THE WARDROBE LADY ALSO AN ACTRESS OR IS SHE, LIKE, THE REAL WARDROBE LADY?
THINK ABOUT HOW MUCH THOUGHT WENT INTO THIS
ARE THERE TWO FULL CAMERA CREWS THERE?
ONE TO FILM THE DANCING AND ONE TO FILM THE PEOPLE FILMING THE DANCING?
WHAT KIND OF 19-YEAR-OLD NYU FILM MAJOR STUFF IS THIS?
SETTLE DOWN, MARKETING PEOPLE
SAYS THE GUY 600 WORDS INTO AN ALL-CAPS RANT ABOUT IT
YOU STARTED IT
WANT A FUN LIKE VISUAL FOR YOURSELF?
ASSUME THE HAIR AND MAKEUP PEOPLE IN THIS SCREENCAP ARE ACTORS
NOT THE PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY DID THIS LADY’S HAIR AND MAKEUP
WITH ME SO FAR?
NOW PICTURE THE ACTUAL HAIR AND MAKEUP PEOPLE
STANDING LIKE 40 FEET AWAY
JUST BEHIND THE CAMERAS
ABSOLUTELY FUMING THAT THEY DIDN’T GET CAST AS THE HAIR AND MAKEUP PEOPLE IN THE BEHIND-THE-SCENES SEGMENT OF THE COMMERCIAL FOR THE DIABETES MEDICINE
“WE COULD HAVE DONE THAT?”
“SHE’S NOT EVEN HOLDING THE DRYER RIGHT?”
“THAT MAN BETTER NOT TOUCH HER HAIR”
“I WORKED HARD ON THAT”
“I DON’T KNOW WHO HE THINKS HE IS”
“WITH HIS LITTLE ‘I’M THE PRESIDENT FROM INDEPENDENCE DAY’ FACE”
AND SO ON
SHOW ME THAT BEHIND-THE-SCENES FOOTAGE
GIVE THEM A WHOLE PODCAST
I AM BARELY JOKING
I PROMISE I AM ALMOST DONE
FOR MY SAKE AS WELL AS YOURS
I DON’T EVEN WANT TO KNOW WHAT MY BLOOD PRESSURE IS RIGHT NOW
THAT’S WHAT THIS COMMERCIAL SHOULD BE FOR
BLOOD PRESSURE MEDICINE
ONE LAST THING
WHAT’S WITH LINE IN THIS SONG ABOUT IT BEING “THE LITTLE PILL WITH A BIG STORY TO TELL?”
DON’T ALL LITTLE PILLS HAVE BIG STORIES TO TELL?
I MEAN, IDEALLY?
ENTIRE TOWNS USED TO BE WIPED OUT BY INFECTIONS
BUT THEN WE INVENTED ANTIBIOTICS
THERE’S A LITTLE PILL WITH A BIG STORY TO TELL
THAT ONE, TOO
I MEAN, THAT ONE ISN’T A HAPPY STORY
BUT IT’S A PRETTY BIG ONE
I SAID I’M FINE
Municipalities are struggling to keep pace with rapidly rising home prices, creating the largest gap between local property tax assessments and market values in recent years.
That’s according to a new report by the Wisconsin Policy Forum. The report says the gap between assessed and market values has spawned concerns about the fairness of Wisconsin’s property tax system.
When property reassessments do occur, the report says many will see “huge increases” in their assessed property values. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll see the same increase in property taxes.
Over 800 Wisconsin municipalities have assessed values for the properties in their borders that are lower than 80 percent of their market value, according to the report. That’s the largest gap since at least 2011.
Ari Brown, a researcher for Wisconsin Policy Forum and the report’s author, said the main cause for that gap is “the hottest housing market in recent memory” over the last few years.
“When property values are rising so quickly, it is hard for local assessors to keep up with that,” he said. “There’s just a lack of supply and housing right now to meet demand.”
On top of trying to catch up to a booming housing market, revaluations can be a major expense for local governments, on top of other necessary costs like infrastructure investment, Brown said. A revaluation is a program undertaken by a municipality to appraise all property within its boundary to its full and fair value.
For example, a full revaluation for the city of Rhinelander — which has a population of roughly 7,800 — would cost nearly $160,000, according to the report.
Staffing constraints also make it difficult for local governments to catch up on assessments, said Jerry Deschane, executive director of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities.
“Municipalities are trying to do their job — they’re trying to catch up,” he said. “But there’s a limited number of human beings out there, called state-certified assessors, and there are not enough of them to go around.”
The report said Wisconsin is one of only eight states which assesses property values entirely at municipal level, as most dedicate that responsibility to counties.
From a budgetary perspective, Brown said making Wisconsin counties responsible for revaluations could ensure they’re done more frequently. But that may not solve the entire problem.
“You still need the staff to do that,” Brown said. “A full revaluation requires individual assessors going into every single home in the community to basically run a checklist of what is in this home? What makes up the value of this home? Even if there was the budget, you still don’t have to worry about getting the staffing to do all of that.”
If every property in a community were equally under-assessed, it wouldn’t necessarily lead to an unfair distribution of property taxes, the report said. But the gap between market and assessed values may mean that some neighborhoods or types of properties are more likely to be paying more or less than their fair share, the report added.
“In a suburban community that is growing but doesn’t necessarily have the ability to hire a local assessor, they might run into problems,” Brown said. “One new neighborhood that has been built very quickly, now has really high market values. And the other already existing neighborhoods haven’t been reassessed, so they might be under paying relative to those new homeowners.”
Brown added that Wisconsin’s hot housing market has widened the gap between assessments of commercial and residential properties.
He said commercial property assessments are typically closer to their market value than those of residential properties. That means commercial property owners may be overpaying on property taxes relative to homeowners.
Commercial property was assessed at least 10 percentage points higher than residential in 59 of those communities, meaning that commercial property owners appeared to be overpaying property taxes relative to homeowners.
“It’s not going to be more (of an issue) depending on where you are,” Brown said. “It might not mean more than a few dollars of underpay or overpay each year, but It’s definitely something that can impact residents’ pocketbooks.”
Residents in communities that have done revaluations recently may feel a sense of sticker shock when they see their new assessed property value. In the Fox Valley’s city of Neenah, for example, assessed residential property values went up by 37 percent from 2022 to 2023.
But that doesn’t mean every homeowner’s property taxes will go up by 37 percent. That’s because a municipality’s property tax levy is tied to net new construction.
“Local governments in the state — with a couple of important exceptions — can only raise overall property taxes each year by the rate of net new construction, which is just taking the value of any new construction in the municipality, and dividing it by the total property value of that municipality,” Brown said.
That means the less new construction a municipality has, the less they can raise their property taxes, and vice versa. Deschane said assessments really only determine a property owner’s share of the tax levy.
“If all the houses in a municipality go up in value by the same amount, the amount of taxes those houses pay really shouldn’t go up,” he said. “Property tax assessments alone don’t make the tax levy go up.”
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The Massachusetts Attorney General (AG) is increasing its
enforcement in the motor-vehicle-repossession space. In a January
17, 2023 Assurance of Discontinuance (AOD), the AG stated that it
is “conducting an investigation” into “entities
collecting, servicing and/or funding” motor-vehicle-secured
retail-installment contracts. The AG is focused on two primary
areas of compliance:
- the content of the pre-sale and post-sale repossession notices
and, in particular, that the notices include a statement that a
customer’s deficiency after auctioning their vehicle would be
based on the vehicle’s fair-market value; and
- the frequency of phone calls to debtors and whether those calls
exceed the limits prescribed by 940 CMR 7.04(1)(f).
The current industry sweep is part of the AG’s larger focus
on the treatment of consumers who own motor vehicles. For example,
on March 9, 2023, the AG announced that she will start enforcing
the automotive right-to-repair law, which requires that automakers
provide consumers and repair shops with “telematics”
information so that independent repair shops can perform the same
services as authorized dealers.
Certain Pre-Sale and Post-Sale Notices Must Include Fair-Market
The Motor Vehicle Retail Installment Sales Act governs the
repossession and sale of motor vehicles under retail-installment
contracts. The statute includes detailed requirements for the
content of pre-sale and post-sale repossession notices. In
Williams v. Am. Honda Fin. Corp., 479 Mass. 656, 669
(2018), the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court found that
creditors should include the following information in pre-sale
notices under § 9-614(3):
The fair market value of your vehicle will be used to reduce the
amount you owe, which is your outstanding balance plus the
reasonable costs of repossessing and selling the vehicle. If the
fair market value of your vehicle is less than you owe, you (will
or will not, as applicable) still owe us the difference. If the
fair market value of your vehicle is more than you owe, you will
get the extra money, unless we must pay it to someone else.
The court concluded that this required language should also be
added to post-sale deficiency notices. Id. at 668
(“We conclude that the notice that is required by the Uniform
Commercial Code is never sufficient where the deficiency is not
calculated based on the fair market value of the collateral and the
notice fails to accurately describe how the deficiency is
The court also clarified that “fair market value”
(which is not defined in the MVRISA) is “the highest price
which a hypothetical willing buyer would pay to a hypothetical
willing seller in an assumed free and open market.”
Id. at 661 (citations and quotations omitted).
The AOD also bars the company from initiating phone calls more
frequently than the limits prescribed in 940 CMR 7.04(1)(f), which
It shall constitute an unfair or deceptive act or practice for a
creditor to contact a debtor . . . [by] [i]nitiating a
communication with any debtor via telephone, either in person or
via text messaging or recorded audio message, in excess of two such
communications in each seven-day period to either the debtor’s
residence, cellular telephone, or other telephone number provided
by the debtor as his or her personal telephone number….
In Armata v. Target Corp., 480 Mass. 14 (2018), the
Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts interpreted this to limit a
creditor to two phone calls within a seven-day period. This
includes calls where the creditor was unable to reach the customer
and left a voicemail. While the AOD itself does not include any
analysis of how many phone calls it believes is appropriate,
presumably the AG is applying the same limitations laid out by
How to Prepare
Companies should evaluate their collection-call practices and
pre-sale and post-sale repossession notices to Massachusetts
debtors to anticipate and mitigate any potential risks.
McGuireWoods’ state attorneys general
practice helps clients navigate these challenging waters and
advises clients on how to audit their notices and business
policies. Proactive compliance helps debt collectors limit the
scope of potential enforcement actions.
McGuireWoods would be happy to speak with your team to share
experience-based insights about these challenging issues and to
assist with responding to any inquiries from the AG.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
POPULAR ARTICLES ON: Corporate/Commercial Law from United States
The Beef House Dinner Theatre will present the final show of its 27th Summer Season, “R.E.S.P.E.C.T.” starting Sept. 15.
“R.E.S.P.E.C.T.” pays tribute to icons such as Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, Whitney Houston, Natalie Cole, Tina Turner and many more featuring more than 30 soul, pop and R&B hits.
Five talented vocalists and dancers from Danville make up the cast of this original production. Audience favorites Ky’Eshia Maze and Ja’Nyla Phipps lead the cast. Maze last appeared as Marley in “Escape to Margaritaville” and has also been featured in “From Memphis to Motor City,” “ELVIS” and the 2002 Beef House Christmas Show. Phipps recently made her BHDT debut in “Escape to Margaritaville.” Alexis Johnson, Ter’Ryan White and Lexxus Tetter make their BHDT debuts in “R.E.S.P.E.C.T.”
The show will celebrate the journey of more than 15 Black female artists from Ella Fitzgerald to Patti Labelle and Big Mama Thornton to some great disco divas like Donna Summer. Each performance will raise the roof and bring down the house with original choreography by Tierra Brown.
Doors open at 6 p.m. EDT for the evening show on Sept. 15. The show will begin at 8 p.m. EDT after the buffet dinner. On Sept. 16 and 17, doors open at 12:30 p.m. EDT for a buffet lunch and the matinee show is at 2 p.m. EDT.
All seats are $63 per person including the show, buffet meal, salad, famous Beef House rolls, dessert, soft drink and tax. Call 217-499-5355 or visit www.beefhouserolls.com for reservations.
The Beef House is located off Interstate 74 at exit 4 on Ind. 63 near Covington, Ind.
What would you give up to live affordably in New York City? Or to be minutes away from the beach in Santa Monica, California? In today’s expensive and hyper-competitive real estate market, some homebuyers are arriving at the same answer: space.
Between a marked uptick in rent and home prices and the disappearance of the classic “starter home,” young Americans are downsizing to afford to live in the places — and financial situations — they want.
CNBC Make it recently profiled three people making it work in less than 300 square feet. Here’s what it’s like.
In 2020, Alex Verhaeg moved into a 95 square-foot apartment in Manhattan’s East Village. He paid $1,000 a month.
“People might call this place just a room or a closet, but to me, it is home,” he told CNBC Make It in 2022.
The then-23-year-old barber, bike messenger and content creator found the apartment on Zillow and didn’t realize quite how small it was before he toured the place. At about 16 feet by 8 feet, Verhaeg’s apartment is smaller in area than an average parking spot, which comes in around 150 square feet. Rent has since bumped up to $1,100.
The place doesn’t come with a bathroom. Instead, residents share the three bathrooms and two showers located on each floor of the building. There isn’t much of a kitchen either. Verhaeg uses an electric cooktop that sits atop a dresser he uses for food storage.
“The main benefit of living in such a small space is that it makes you appreciate your things and be a minimalist,” he said. “You really can’t just go out and buy random things because you don’t have the space to store them.”
In 2022, in the wake of a breakup and a death in the family, Sung Yoo decided she needed a change. For the 40-year-old, that meant a cleanse of sorts, which saw her sell or donate most of her belongings, pack her winter items into storage and move to a 140 square-foot tiny home in Santa Monica.
Yoo’s home, which is situated in her landlord’s backyard, is an eight-minute drive from the beach. Rent, including utilities, runs her $1,600 a month — $600 less than the monthly median studio apartment in Santa Monica.
Although the home is “smaller than the average size of a parking spot,” Yoo wrote in a recent story for CNBC Make It, “it’s designed in a way that doesn’t feel cramped.”
Yoo’s main room has to serve multiple functions, acting as living room, closet and food prep area. Other than installing a few hooks, she’s left everything as-is.
The place doesn’t have a stovetop, but temperate Southern Califorinia weather means Yoo can use a double propane burner outside and cook at home at least six days a week.
Yoo has enjoyed the shift in lifestyle and expects to live in a tiny home forever.
“Living with intention in a tiny space has many benefits. I save time, energy and money (especially after getting rid of my $4,500 per-month New York apartment),” she wrote. “It’s very serene and grounding. I only have one high-quality version of everything, and each item has its own place.”
The tiny home lifestyle can even hold appeal for someone who already owns a full-size house.
In 2019, Precious Price bought a three-bedroom, 1,400-square-foot house in Atlanta for $196,000. The plan was to rent spare rooms on Airbnb. But that idea became moot when the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and Price found herself living alone in a house that felt too big.
“But that May, as I stared out the kitchen window into my huge backyard, something clicked,” she wrote in a piece for CNBC Make It earlier this year. “I could use that space to build a tiny home to live in, and fully rent out the main house.”
It cost around $35,000 to build the home, including the prefabricated shed structure, labor and material costs. Price sold stock to cover about $8,500 and put the rest on credit cards. When the tiny home was complete in 2021, she listed it on Airbnb to recoup the costs, charging between $89 and $129 a night.
These days, Price lives in the 296 square-foot tiny home and rents the larger house to long-term tenants. The rent on the big house more than covers the costs associated with both homes, “which means I’m able to live in my tiny home for free,” wrote Price.
Price makes efficient use of the relatively limited space. In addition to a lofted bed and a daybed that doubles as a couch, there’s a full bathroom, kitchen and breakfast nook. The kitchen even sports a full-sized fridge and extra-large sink.
And a tastefully and strategically decorated interior can give the impression of a much larger home, Price wrote.
“The eight separate windows, wall mirrors and glass shower door all make the space feel bigger. I sometimes forget I’m living in a shed.”
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Falling house prices and record wage growth has meant houses have become more affordable on paper, but the rising cost of borrowing has cancelled out any benefit.
The cost of a typical UK home is 6.7 times average earnings, down from a peak of 7.3 last summer, according to analysis from the country’s biggest mortgage lender, Halifax.
It means house prices are more within reach, but when the cost of borrowing money to buy a property is factored in, paying for a home has become more expensive.
Mortgage costs have gone up 22% in a year from an average of £1,020 to £1,249, data from the Halifax house price index shows, and account for a larger proportion of income.
A single mortgage holder is now paying more than a third (35%) of their average full-time salary on repaying their home loan, up from 30% a year ago, on a typical 25-year mortgage with a fixed interest rate for the first five years and a 25% deposit.
The figures are based on mean average earnings of £43,090 from April to June this year and a typical house price of £286,276.
However this is slightly misleading as it only takes into account people working full time and is skewed by small numbers of very high earners.
The median average salary is usually preferred because it “measures the amount earned by the typical individual”. That stands at around £29,000, just a tenth of the typical house price.
Mortgage payers are now in the minority, according to analysis from Sky News, while renters are the majority, followed by people who own their home outright.
While house prices have come down, they have consistently risen for years driven by buyer demand increasing during the pandemic, incentives such as the stamp duty holiday being rolled out, and interest rates at record lows.
Compared with the start of 2020, for the same mortgage (a typical 25-year mortgage, with a fixed interest rate for the first five years and a 25% deposit), the monthly cost has increased by 65%, now making up 23% of average earnings. In the pandemic year, the price of the average UK home was 6.2 times typical earnings.
Regional variance in affordability exists with Inverclyde in Scotland said to be the most affordable place in the country and Surrey Heath seeing the largest improvement in affordability over the last year.
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The most expensive place to buy a home, according to the data, was London, despite the region recording a 2.6% decrease in house prices over the last 12 months.
Average property prices are £533,057 in the capital and, based on average London earnings, the house price-to-income ratio is 9.3, the highest of any region.
Typical mortgage costs there account for nearly half (49%) of earnings, the biggest proportion of anywhere in the UK.
Most affordable is the northeast of England, with an average house price of £168,240 and a house price-to-income ratio of 4.9.
One of Commercial Drive’s favourite gelato shops was aflame on Tuesday, and has shut down indefinitely as a result.
Dolce Amore, found at the intersection of Commercial Drive and Graveley Street, suffered a significant fire early this morning.
The shop shared the news, alongside a video of the damage, in an Instagram post.
“They say; life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans. We can’t believe how accurate it is, we were talking and planning bigger and more exciting things for Dolce Amore yesterday, but today, we woke up with the most devastating news,” states the post. “There was a massive fire at Dolce Amore that started this morning, and we still don’t know the exact reason. Luckily, it began very early hours, and no one got hurt by the fire. That being said, we will need some time off to heal and repair our one and only clubhouse. We will see you soon.”
The video shows broken glass, blackened floors, a scorched menu sign, and a shop that, while not totally destroyed, is definitely in disarray. As such, the Little Italy location is closed until further notice.
Those hoping to enjoy some Dolce Amore gelato—and support the business—can still do so by heading to its location in North Vancouver at 113 2nd Street W.
Michael Witgen’s deep research of Indigenous and early North American history is evident in his 2021 book “Seeing Red: Indigenous Land, American Expansion and the Political Economy of Plunder in North America.”
A finalist for this year’s Pulitzer Prize in History, the book examines colonization of a region now known as the Midwest and was previously known by settlers as the Northwest Territories.
“I think the history of Wisconsin’s colonization is new to most people,” said Witgen, a citizen of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe, in an interview with Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Central Time.”
“In grade school, you tend to learn about Indians through the story of the Trail of Tears in the Southeast. You learn that there was a hunger for land, Indians were facing pressure and they were forcibly removed. But that’s not what happened in the Northwest Territories,” he continued.
The U.S. government planned to remove Indigenous people from the Northwest Territories in 1852. After getting wind of the government’s plans, tribal leaders took an arduous journey to Washington, D.C. and negotiated directly with President Millard Fillmore.
“One of my distant relatives was on that trip,” Witgen said. “It’s an amazing example of Ojibwe people fighting to remain in their homelands. That’s part of the story of why Native people in Wisconsin didn’t get removed.”
Witgen, a Columbia University history professor, discussed with “Central Time” how the U.S. government used money circulation and forced treaties to colonize, but not remove, people Indigenous to the region.
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
Rob Ferrett: A huge part of the book is about how Native Americans reacted to the push to populate states in the Northwest with settlers from out east. What were some of the key points in your research?
Michael Witgen: There are several key points. There wasn’t a lot of population pressure in 1837 for the northern Wisconsin territory, but the U.S. basically tells the Native people that they have to cede it or it’ll be taken from them. And so they do.
The Native peoples are compensated something around 13 cents per acre, which the U.S. can then sell under the Northwest Ordinance for $1 an acre. It made an enormous amount of profit. That property would often enter circulation as private property, undeveloped for 10 or 15 years, where it can then sell for, say, $80 an acre.
So there was this massive transfer of land and wealth from Native people through the federal government to individual settlers in the United States. This process facilitated colonization by creating a monopoly on land sales and making that land really affordable to most people in order to encourage immigration.
RF: How else did the U.S. financially benefit from the forced appropriation and distribution of land?
MW: The federal government took the wealth as well as the land, plundering the resources of the Indigenous population in order to economically develop the state and territory.
People in states like Michigan and Wisconsin quickly discovered that having Indians in place as a colonized subject was way more lucrative than kicking them off and taking over their land.
The federal government forced treaties requiring Indigenous people to cede land in exchange for cash. Usually, however, around 90 percent or more of the payment went to traders or merchants who claimed that Native peoples owed them money from the fur trade.
Merchants would take that money from the government and invest in their own businesses. Many were then hired by the government. They made money by claiming the cash payments as debt and by providing the federal government with provisions that were also part of the annual payment for land sales.
There was a lot of money to be made in not removing the Indians. That cash helped people develop the infrastructure of the businesses in the state economy.
RF: The way English settlers defined land management and ownership did not match up with how other cultures lived. Because of that, the English felt they had a right to the land. This idea feels like it lies at the heart of westward expansion, including what happened in the Northwest territories.
MW: Absolutely. The “doctrine of discovery” is the idea that when Europeans arrived in the Americas, in North America in particular, they’d found a new uninhabited world because it didn’t have recognizable forms of property or private property like you would have in Western Europe.
At some point, settlers had to come to grips with the fact that the land they thought was empty was in fact occupied by Indigenous people. Following through with their plan meant they had to actively work to colonize Native people in their homeland.
RF: What do you make of current land issues related to the descendants of the tribes you write about?
MW: I’m interested in the Land Back movements.
A lot of the land in northern Wisconsin, northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula was ceded when there wasn’t demand for it. A lot of that land has been passed into public trust for counties or universities. When they were ceded, these lands were sold or given to the U.S. and then used to fund the endowments for land grant universities. Part of the public infrastructure of the U.S. comes from this transfer of land.
Reckoning with that, coming to grips with it and giving the land back if possible is a really interesting recognition of the colonial history of the U.S. while undoing some of its legacies.
RF: Do you want to see wider efforts to share the history that you recount in your book?
MW: Absolutely. I don’t think people realize the extent to which history, particularly in the Midwest, is an Indigenous history. American history is intertwined with Indigenous history in a way that can’t be separated. There’s a connection that Native people have to land that is still here today that precedes America. This is really important for people to think about when tribes exercise treaty rights now.