Wisconsin got screwed

We knew it was coming. Remember, several years ago, when Trump, and Scott Walker, and Paul Ryan were all blathering about the great economic progress the Republican party was producing by bringing in Foxconn to the state? They were going to create all these new jobs and trigger an economic renaissance in the entire midwest. I recall watching Wisconsin going down the tubes, instead, compared to Minnesota, which did not fall for the Republican hokum…but it did help turn their state red. It still is. It’ll be interesting to see how the state goes next month.

Because Foxconn was nothing but a lie, yet another Republican grift. They got billions of dollars in subsidies, and there’s nothing to show for it.

That vision got Gou regular access to the White House during a trade war and gave Trump a groundbreaking and almost a ribbon-cutting, too. But maintaining the mirage required a culture of secrecy. Employees were warned not to talk to the press (including, specifically, me). Many were afraid to speak — afraid of getting fired, or of retribution even after they’d left. Publicly, the company issued announcement after announcement — innovation centers, career fairs, smart cities, AI 8K+5G, the AI Institute — each one erasing the memory of the last missed deadline. (One employee quipped that one of the few things Foxconn succeeded in making in Wisconsin was press releases.) The illusion was defended by GOP officials at all levels of government, from Mount Pleasant to the State Assembly to the White House, who accused anyone pointing out that the project was off track of trying to scuttle it for partisan ends, as if the existence of the factory were open to debate and positive thinking might make it real.

But in actual reality, the project has succeeded in manufacturing mostly this: an endless supply of wonderful things for the President to promise his supporters. This past weekend, in an interview with a local Wisconsin TV station, Trump insisted Foxconn had built “one of the most incredible plants I’ve ever seen” in Mount Pleasant and would keep its promises and more if he was reelected. “They will do what I tell them to do,” he said. “If we win the election, Foxconn is going to come into our country with money like no other company has come into our country.”

No one wanted to believe promises like this more than the people who went to work for Foxconn in Wisconsin. They each came to regret different things: the wasted time, the jobs they’d left, the integrity lost making deals and offering jobs only to have the company change course. But one common theme was frustration that it hadn’t turned out to be real and that long after they’d learned the truth, they saw the facade still standing. “There are a lot of good people who fell for this,” said one employee, shortly before departing a job at Foxconn. “Who wanted to see it succeed.”

At least awareness is slowly emerging. Ryan and Walker are out, let’s hope Trump gets 86’ed next.


  1. Akira MacKenzie says

    Of course, the rank-and-file Rethugs here is Wisconsin–as everywhere–don’t operate in the sane reality as the rest of us. They blame the election of Tony Evers for scaring off Foxxconn with all his taxes and regulations.

  2. raven says

    According to TheVerge

    ” Wisconsin rejected the company’s subsidy application and found it had employed only 281 people eligible under the contract at the end of 2019. Many have since been laid off.
    State and local governments spent at least $400 million, largely on land and infrastructure Foxconn will likely never need. Residents were pushed from their homes under threat of eminent domain and dozens of houses bulldozed to clear property Foxconn doesn’t know what to do with.

    This means each job cost Wisconsin $1.4 million.
    Not much to show for it.

  3. says

    Why did they need Foxconn, anyway? With that kind of financial incentives, anyone could build an electronics assembly plant. Oddly nobody thought to ask the China-baiting republicans why they were not promoting American businesses.

  4. says

    WTF, what a scam, and a nightmare for employees.

    This past weekend, in an interview with a local Wisconsin TV station, Trump insisted Foxconn had built “one of the most incredible plants I’ve ever seen” in Mount Pleasant and would keep its promises and more if he was reelected.

    And they’re still trying to maintain the scam??

  5. birgerjohansson says

    Reality vs satire:
    Earlier today I read a spoof article saying “Trump fires Dr. Fauci, replaces him with Deepak Chopra”.
    I just read an article where Trump blames “Fauci and the other idiots” for coronavirus fiasco.
    This tells me the Republicans in general and Trump in particular are so fucking incompetent that they probably are a greater obstacle for their own corruption than the pushback they get from Democrats. The average latin american general would have bled the country with greater efficiency.

  6. tacitus says

    And they’re still trying to maintain the scam??

    They’re planning on renaming the company to FoxLongConn.

  7. Ed Seedhouse says

    A company whose name contains both “fox” and “con?. What could possibly go wrong?

  8. says

    @#7, Ed Seedhouse:

    You laugh, but chances are that at some point today you touched an electronic device which was either assembled by Foxconn or contained a part manufactured/assembled by Foxconn. (Not even PCs you assemble yourself from parts you buy individually are necessarily safe.) They’re used by almost every major technology company to some extent, and it has been that way for over a decade, and the few which don’t use them avoid them by contracting with companies which are even worse.

  9. AstrySol says

    @3 Marcus Ranum

    Because when the facades fall they need very easy scapegoats: the few Democrats in the state aren’t enough and you can’t make American billionaires / grifters into good scapegoats.