Thursday, January 31, 2019

Yep, Foxconn Was A Con Job All Along-- You'd Expect Something Different From Trump, Walker And Ryan?


Wednesday morning, Reuters broke an explosive story about how Foxconn is reconsidering the bullshit deal they made with Scott Walker, Paul Ryan and Trump "to make advanced liquid crystal display panels at a $10 billion Wisconsin campus, and said it intends to hire mostly engineers and researchers rather than the manufacturing workforce the project originally promised."
Announced at a White House ceremony in 2017, the 20-million square foot campus marked the largest greenfield investment by a foreign-based company in U.S. history and was praised by President Donald Trump as proof of his ability to revive American manufacturing.

Foxconn, which received controversial state and local incentives for the project, initially planned to manufacture advanced large screen displays for TVs and other consumer and professional products at the facility, which is under construction. It later said it would build smaller LCD screens instead.

Now, those plans may be scaled back or even shelved, Louis Woo, special assistant to Foxconn Chief Executive Terry Gou, told Reuters. He said the company was still evaluating options for Wisconsin, but cited the steep cost of making advanced TV screens in the United States, where labor expenses are comparatively high.

...“In Wisconsin we’re not building a factory. You can’t use a factory to view our Wisconsin investment,” Woo said.

Earlier this month, Foxconn, a major supplier to Apple Inc., reiterated its intention to create 13,000 jobs in Wisconsin, but said it had slowed its pace of hiring. The company initially said it expected to employ about 5,200 people by the end of 2020; a company source said that figure now looks likely to be closer to 1,000 workers.

...Rather than manufacturing LCD panels in the United States, Woo said it would be more profitable to make them in greater China and Japan, ship them to Mexico for final assembly, and import the finished product to the United States.

During the 2018 congressional campaign, Foxconn became a hot topic between progressive Democrat Randy Bryce and Foxconn booster Paul Ryan. Most Republicans, though not all (see Justin Amash tweet above), bought into the corporate welfare plan Ryan, Walker and Trump were advancing. Bryce warned voters that this whole Foxconn deal was a con, a scam, and that it wouldn't work. I asked him about it when the news broke yesterday.

"When the Fox-conn deal was first announced," he told me, "it was not too long after we launched our campaign to take Paul Ryan out. Trump invited Ryan and Walker (who was also about to be taken out as well) to the White House where they all broke their arms frenetically patting themselves on each other’s backs. There was no doubt it was a politically motivated stunt to save their careers. The deal was practically agreed upon on the back of a napkin. Since then Walker promised over 4 BILLION dollars to the Taiwan-based company. This at a time when public education had been stripped of nearly 1 billion. Income inequality at it’s all-time worst. The Middle class leaving Wisconsin quicker than any other state in the country. Walker postponed infrastructure projects claiming we can’t afford to make our roads and bridges safe but at the same time vowed to widen lanes from Milwaukee’s airport to the Mt. Pleasant Foxconn location to be used for AUTOMATED trucks to deliver goods."

Bryce continued, "Now that we have a new governor-- Tony Evers-- the same old grifter network is at an end. It’s no surprise that we find out just how big of a scam it was. The sign welcoming people to Wisconsin used to read 'Open For Business.' Now that we’re 'open for everyone,' the corporate gravy train is over. It’s time to use taxpayer money to benefit the citizens-- not the corporations who see us as their servants."

Another Democrat who recognized the whole deal was bogus from the start was state Senator Chris Larson, who is eager to create good middle class jobs in the area he represents south of Milwaukee, but wasn't buying into the con-job the GOP was offering. "Wisconsin taxpayers shouldn't invest our future or our funds in a company that isn't invested in Wisconsin," he told me yesterday. "That will be the legacy of the failed FoxConn deal. In the meantime, we'll continue to have to put up with the tortured explanations as to why the jobs won't materialize, why they can't follow our environmental laws, why they choose to put all our money in a foreign corporation instead of in our kids' education, and today, why they don't actually want to build here anyway." And he was just getting started.
Beware Wisconsin Republican leaders promising job creation for handing out massive tax subsidies. As it so happens, taking an agreement written on a bar-room napkin as gospel is not the brightest idea former Governor Walker and legislative Republicans have had. Foxconn was never going to build a manufacturing plant, they were never going to invest $10,000,000,000 here, and they were never going to create 13,000 jobs. The Foxconn boondoggle was an election year fantasy designed to hide the fact that the extreme Republicans who have had a gerrymandered stranglehold on Wisconsin have never had a real economic development plan.

It is telling that despite having delivered a historic $1 billion cut to public education, having local roads and infrastructure in extreme disrepair, and being told that regional public transit is just “too expensive,” Republicans always find the tax dollars for their corporate buddies. Over the last eight years, Wisconsin had the opportunity to invest in ourselves but time and again Republicans chose to invest in millionaires and billionaires.

The sooner we ignore the snake oil salesman (and the politicians that ogle their cash) and instead start plotting our own way forward, the better off we'll be.
Yesterday, the Washington Post reminded Wisconsinites about a statement they got last November from Mark Maley, spokesman for Scott Walker's Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. "The state of Wisconsin is investing in a once-in-a-lifetime economic development opportunity that will be transformational as the state will become home to the only LCD manufacturing facility outside of Asia." Maley (and the Walker administration-- since sent packing by the voters) lying? You bet they were, right along with Trump, Ryan, Ryan clone Bryan Steil and Sean Duffy. "Foxconn," reported the Post" has a history of walking back its hiring announcements. The company grabbed headlines in 2013 when it unveiled plans to invest $30 million and generate 300 jobs at a new high-tech factory in central Pennsylvania. The state’s governor applauded the news, and economists predicted Foxconn would lead a local manufacturing revival. But after the spotlight faded, Foxconn quietly dropped its plans in the state. Trump and Walker’s deal with the company also sparked criticism. Wisconsin’s nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau forecast the move wouldn’t bring profits to the state until 2042. Walker lost his race in November to Democrat Tony Evers, who has slammed the Foxconn deal a as a 'Hail Mary pass on the part of the governor.'...Wisconsin’s offer of economic sweeteners to Foxconn was unprecedented in scale, analysts say. The bundle of financial incentives was larger than what New York, Virginia and Tennessee collectively pledged to to win its new offices."

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At 9:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bet a lot of cheeseheads which they could retrieve those tax breaks given to Foxconn out of their pockets. Funny how they see it now, when many at the time were loudly screaming that this was a bad deal and to stop it before it was made.

At 1:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you know, if this were france or Russia back in the day, all those grifters would be at risk of losing their heads, literally.

The French and Russian peasants may have been ignorant and uneducated... but they weren't fucking morons.

americans are fucking morons.

At 2:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Given capitalism, the plethora of FTAs in place and all other considerations, it is absolute lunacy to believe a Chinese company will MANUFACTURE anything at all here when they can do it in China (, korea, japan, Malaysia, mexico, india, Indonesia...) for a percentage of the cost of doing it in FUCKING Wisconsin, even with the tax concessions (and now even with the tariffs).

ditto Carrier, Ford and every other photo-op that trump or walker/ryan posed in.

but, you see, americans are so f u c k i n g stupid... we'll believe absolutely anything we are told by our capitalist, political or religious clergy.

And, also of course, once the lies are exposed... well, nobody gives a flying fuck anyway.


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