It takes only two things to keep people in chains:
The ignorance of the oppressed and the treachery of their leaders.
♫ Who put the “con” in Wisconsin? Foxconn, that’s who. ♫
Today, I read an article that I find rather mysterious. Here are a few excerpts:
The Wisconsin Assembly sent a $3 billion incentive package for Taiwan-based Foxconn to Gov. Scott Walker on Thursday, signing off on a deal to lure the electronics giant to the state with the biggest subsidy to a foreign company in U.S. history.
Democrats have raised alarms about exemptions under the bill that waive requirements for Foxconn to first develop an environmental impact statement before constructing what could be a 20-million-square-foot campus.
Foxconn would also be allowed to build in wetland and waterways.
Opponents objected to a provision that would allow the Wisconsin Supreme Court to take appeals of certain lawsuits related to Foxconn, skipping the appeals court. No other business in the state is provided such an expedited route to the Supreme Court.
Unlike the federal government, which is Monetarily Sovereign, Wisconsin is monetarily non-sovereign. Unlike federal spending, which is funded by federal money creation, not by taxes, Wisconsin spending is funded by taxpayers.
That is a fundamental difference between the finances of a Monetarily Sovereign government and the finances of a state or of people like you and me.
There are 2.3 million households in Wisconsin. So a $3 billion incentive package requires each household in Wisconsin to send $1,300 to Foxconn.
Warm up your checkbooks, folks.
What do Wisconsin households get for their $1,300, their potential loss of wetlands, waterways and overall environmental degradation, plus special legal immunities?
Foxconn has said it hopes to open the plant in 2020 with 3,000 workers, but that the workforce could grow to 13,000.
IF the plant opens with only 3,000 workers, taxpayers would have paid $1 million for each worker.
In the theoretical, best-case scenario (“best case” = “highly unlikely”) scenario of 13,000 new workers, Wisconsin taxpayers would have paid each worker $230,000.
One wonders whether Wisconsin taxpayers merely should have given 13,000 workers $230,000 each and eliminated the Foxconn middleman.
Assembly Democrats slammed the proposal Thursday as being unfairly rigged to benefit Foxconn at the expense of taxpayers.
Rigged? You think?
But Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (said) “What’s rigged is the deal for the taxpayer, the workers, the families and ultimately those of us who have the good foresight to realize when a good deal is put in front of you,” Vos said.
The total incentive package is 10 times larger than anything ever approved in Wisconsin and would be the biggest state subsidy to a foreign company in the United States.
The Assembly passed the bill with all Republicans and four Democrats in support. Two Republicans joined all other Democrats against.
Doesn’t it seem odd, that the Republican Party, the anti-tax party, should be so willing to raise taxes by $3 billion dollars, with so few guarantees about the results?
Any wonder why the Democrats, who traditionally support factory workers, are so suspicious of a deal that only purports to add factory workers?
Critics have warned that there aren’t enough protections for taxpayers to recover payments to Foxconn if it automates production and fires workers.
Foxconn is a high-tech company.
Can there be any doubt that this high-company absolutely will automate to the best of its high-tech ability?
That long line of Chinese women doing tedious, boring, mind-numbing hands-on labor at ridiculously low wages, will not be duplicated in Wisconsin.
Instead, I predict you will see a long line of robots working for zero wages.
In short, without having any inside knowledge, I predict there never will be 13,000 workers and that Wisconsin taxpayers never will see a return on their investment.
So what is going on here?
They’ve also said more needs to be done to guarantee that Wisconsin workers and businesses get preference during the construction phase of the plant, and once it’s up and running.
The Walker administration is charged with negotiating minimum hiring numbers to trigger the payments in the contract with Foxconn which has not been finalized.
Foxconn has also not selected the exact location for the plant, but it has focused on property in Racine County in between Milwaukee and Chicago.
The city of Racine, Wisconsin is only a half hour’s drive from Illinois and “greater Chicago,” and only an hour from Chicago’s city limits.
If the plant is built in Racine County, but south of the city of Racine, it will be even closer to Illinois’s rich source of labor.
Not only is there no guarantee that “Wisconsin workers and businesses will get preference during the construction phase,” but there is no guarantee about how many current Wisconson residents will be hired after the plant is built.
The Walker administration, who championed the deal, will negotiate the hiring numbers that trigger payments. That sure seems like a “fox-guarding-the-hen-house” type of arrangement.
In summary, the Republican anti-tax party votes to increase taxes on the citizens of Wisconsin, for a nebulous return that will be overseen by the Republican who sponsored the deal.
So what the heck really is going on?
This is what I predict:
- Foxconn never will hire 13,000 people. Not in a year, not in ten years, not ever.
- Many of the people it does hire, will come from Illinois, will shop in Illinois, and will pay taxes to Illinois. The Chicago commercial area is a must larger source of qualified workers than is the entire state of Wisconsin, and it is nicely convenient via road and commuter rail.
- Republican pols, who will receive advance info about which land Foxconn plans to use, will buy it early, making out like bandits. They probably already have begun to acquire options.
- Foxconn, having demanded a direct line to a politically leveraged Wisconsin Supreme Court, easily will fend off any challenges to its sweet deal.
- Foxconn will pollute Wisconsin’s land and water, and if sued, will win its case in the highly political, dysfunctional, right-wing, pro-business, anti-environment Supreme Court.
- Screwed Wisconsin taxpayers, will pay big, and never will see any net benefit — and here’s the big one:
“Walker joined President Donald Trump in announcing Foxconn’s plans to build in Wisconsin at a White House event in July, heralding it as a game-changer for American manufacturing.”
So there it is. In addition to being a giveaway to big business and to greedy politicians, and a rip-off of the average taxpayer (the Republican standard operating procedure), the Foxconn deal provides endless bragging rights to Trump and Walker for all the non-existent jobs they will claim they brought to Wisconsin.
Trump and Walker will be long gone from office by the time the Wisconsin taxpayers figure out they are enmeshed in this deal, forever.
Illinois stands to benefit from a plant just across the Wisconsin border, as O’Hare Airport could get more traffic, workers living in Lake County, IL could make the commute and small businesses could step up to cater to workers’ needs.
Most important is the potential for Foxcomm’s suppliers to set up shop in the (Illinois) vicinity.
As a resident of Illinois, I would like to thank our generous neighbors to the north. Illinois taxpayers sure could use the money.
Wisconsin taxpayers will sing a new tune: ♫ “Who put the ‘con‘ in Wisconsin? Foxconn, that’s who” ♫
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell