Trump And Scott Walker's Foxconn Factory Deal Goes POOF!
It's not nice to say WE TOLD YOU SO. But ... we did. In July 2017, Wisconsin's then-Governor Scott Walker and then-Speaker of the House Paul Ryan went to the White House for a yuuuuuuge announcement. The tech manufacturing mega-firm FoxConn, best known for its Chinese factories with suicide barriers on the roof to keep employees from jumping off in despair, was going to build a 20 million square foot plant outside Racine! Why yes, that is bigger than the Pentagon! For the low, low price of $4 billion in incentives paid for by Wisconsin taxpayers -- that's $230,000 to $1 million per job -- plus a delicious basket of goodies including 7 million gallons of water per day from Lake Michigan and the right to condemn 3,000 acres of agricultural and residential land as "blighted", Foxconn would hire 13,000 full-time employees at an average salary of $54,000. And these workers would produce state-of-the-art LCD screens for televisions produced by Apple, 'cause shit, why not, right?
Trump bragged that he'd been instrumental in closing the deal with Foxconn chairman Terry Gou -- he hadn't, negotiations preceded his presidency -- saying:
So I had this incredible company going to invest someplace in the world — not here necessarily. And I will tell you they wouldn't have done it here, except that I became President, so that's good. But they wanted to do it someplace now in the United States. And I immediately thought of the state of Wisconsin.
Terry came up, fell in love with the people, fell in love with the location, fell in love with the concept here. You know, he's going to make robotics here. They're doing many other things including full television sets. They're doing many things here. And they'll do a lot of expansion.
This was always, always, ALWAYS a lie. Which is why we called our article The Four Bullshit Lies Of Trump And Scott Walker's Imaginary 'Foxconn' Factory. And today the company finally admitted that they're not building televisions in Wisconsin, or any other American state, because it's so much cheaper to produce the components in Asia, assemble the televisions in Mexico, and then import the assembled product to America. Foxconn spokesman Jason Woo told Reuters, "In terms of TV, we have no place in the U.S. ... We can't compete." They're still promising to build something, but not a factory because, "You can't use a factory to view our Wisconsin investment." Which is an odd metric for a project which was explicitly sold to the citizens of Wisconsin as a factory which would produce steady, good jobs for generations to come.
Reached for comment, Foxconn factory workers in Pennsylvania and Indonesia said ... NOTHING. Because they don't exist. Foxconn promised them factories, too, and nothing ever came of it. At this point the company is mumbling something about a high-end research facility in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin, as they edge slowly toward the exit. It's already forfeited $9.5 million in tax credits for 2018, since Foxconn only created 178 full-time jobs, rather than the promised 260. And yet the company pinky swears they're really, truly going to hit that magical 13,000 new jobs number eventually.
Spoiler Alert: ...
Good thing Wisconsin didn't send that beady-eyed little badgerfucker back to the statehouse, huh? We'll have to wait for local reporters to assess the financial fallout, but Racine County already issued $147 million of bonds on top of Mount Pleasant's own $113 million bond issue to fund the boondoggle.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.