As Goes Janesville | Chicago Reader

As Goes Janesville

88 minutes 2012

Just after the 2008 financial crisis hastened the shuttering of the General Motors plant in Janesville, Wisconsin, video maker Brad Lichtenstein began documenting the fate of three laid-off workers—two who transferred to a plant in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and one who returned to school through a federally funded program. These thoughtful stories of a disappearing middle class become more pointed as Scott Walker, the newly elected Republican governor, begins implementing his union-busting agenda in February 2011 and his upper-crust backers in Janesville try to attract new industry to the town. Tim Cullen, one of the 14 Democratic state senators who fled Wisconsin in order to stall a vote on the governor's controversial budget-repair bill, figures in some of the video's best moments, including a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a Travel Wisconsin program where he's cheered so heartily and Walker is booed so mercilessly that the "Wisconsin Is Open for Business" shtick is barely audible.

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