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Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Tuesday, October 20, 2020

The plant should be open by now, and with the election just weeks away, The Verge has taken another look at what's going on and ... it's not pretty. The 30,000 to 13,000 to 5,200 jobs? They currently stand at 281. And according to the website's extensive reporting, most of those workers sit around watching Netflix all day because they have literally nothing to do.

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...It gets worse: in order to qualify for the massive incentives Wisconsin approved back in 2017, Foxconn had to meet minimum job hires. But those hires are only counted at the end of the year, which led to the company mass hiring in the last three months of the year and then laying most of the new workers off in January. The $100m grant to the Wisconsin-Madison University? It stopped at $700,000.

There is no LCD plant. In large part because the economics of it just don't make sense: even when hiring people at $30,000 a year when Wisconsin's median household income is about $60,000, it's not possible to make a profit thanks to razor-thin margins. Of the $10bn promised, 2.8 per cent has been spent, and two per cent of the 20 million square-feet of promised factory has been built, according to Foxconn's own figures in its subsidy submissions.

The Wisconsin project may go down as one of the biggest political and economic con-jobs the US has ever witnessed, with both Trump and Scott pushing hype and big claims over reality. Two years ago, the fear was that the project would cost the state one million dollars for every job created; in 2020, it's literally not possible to make that comparison because there are no actual jobs beyond hiring people to prop up the deal....

It gets worse. Wisconsin's current governor, Tony Evers " who beat Scott Walker in some part because of his promise to find out what was really going on with the Foxconn contract " is being stymied by the state's Republican-held legislature which refuses to allow access to information about what is going on behind the scenes....

One of the most telling details surrounds the autonomous vehicles. They were going to transport employees from the city to the plant on the outskirts of town. It was part of a new Smart Cities vision: a free, hyper-modern approach of workers moved in driverless shuttles outfitted with the latest technology; cameras and algorithms, sensors running on 5G.

The reality was quite different: a shipment of cheap golf carts from China that couldn't be retrofitted to work autonomously. They were described by one employee as "the biggest pieces of ----." One revised plan was to use them as security vehicles but the security company refused to pay for the carts. As so they ended up abandoned in a huge empty building being used by bored employees for races. When the batteries ran out, they were left standing where they stopped....


#1 | Posted by LampLighter at 2020-10-20 10:23 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

The Pubs elected a guy who bankrupted an oil company, then elected a guy who bankrupted a casino. Why anyone thinks they have any kind of financial acumen I have no idea.

#2 | Posted by TFDNihilist at 2020-10-20 10:36 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 5

But... but...

Pres Trump said this plant would be the Eighth Wonder of the World.

30,000 jobs promised.

281 jobs delivered.

It's a wonder alright.

#3 | Posted by LampLighter at 2020-10-20 10:48 AM | Reply | Funny: 1

So, I've only followed this in passing (enough to know it was an obvious farce to begin with), so could somebody help me understand something here.

Did WI actually give money to Foxconn? I thought it was all tax breaks and such, not actual hard cash being given to the company.

Because if that understanding is wrong, are the tax payers of WI giving $10bn to a company that's doing absolutely nothing for the area and state? Was this nothing more than a money extraction scheme for the company and the politicians who have their hand in the pot?

#4 | Posted by jpw at 2020-10-20 11:35 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

@#4 ... Did WI actually give money to Foxconn? I thought it was all tax breaks and such, not actual hard cash being given to the company. ...

The 8th wonder of the world*
*wonder not guaranteed
www.theverge.com

...A contract with WEDC [Wisconsin Economic Development Committee] signed in November made it official: nearly $3 billion in "refundable" tax credits, most likely to be made in the form of direct payments to Foxconn.

Combined with infrastructure the state promised to build, approximately $800 million in additional incentives mostly from the small town of Mount Pleasant, where the "Fab" was to be located, and other contributions, the package totaled more than $4 billion.

In a best-case scenario, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau found the state wouldn't break even until 2043. Depending on how many people Foxconn hired, each job would cost taxpayers somewhere between $200,000 and more than a million dollars. The average subsidy in the US is around $24,000 per job. ...

In many ways, the Foxconn debacle in Wisconsin is the physical manifestation of the alternate reality that has defined the Trump administration.

Trump promised to bring back manufacturing, found a billionaire eager to play along, and now for three years the people of Wisconsin have been told to expect an LCD factory that plainly is not there. Into the gap between appearance and reality fell people's jobs, homes, and livelihoods. ...



It was basically billions in tax breaks and credits in return for a promise of awesomeness.


#5 | Posted by LampLighter at 2020-10-20 12:02 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

"Did WI actually give money to Foxconn? I thought it was all tax breaks and such"

The tax breaks were "refundable" credits, meaning even if FoxConn had no taxable income, the state would still give them billions. It looks like the state and some localities are out over $400 million. But it was in Paul Ryan's district, and negotiated by Scott Walker, so, you know...all good..
www.theverge.com

From the link:

That illusion has had real costs. 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. Months after the 2018 groundbreaking, the company was racing to hire the 260 people needed to receive the first tranche of payments from the lucrative subsidy package passed by then-Gov. Scott Walker. Recruiters were told to hit the number but given little in the way of job descriptions. Soon, the office began to fill with people who had nothing to do. Many just sat in their cubicles watching Netflix and playing games on their phones. The reality of their situation became impossible to ignore. Multiple employees recall seeing people cry in the office. "The best is when you're in the elevator with somebody and then they just scream out of nowhere," said an employee who experienced this several times.

#6 | Posted by Danforth at 2020-10-20 12:09 PM | Reply

@#6

A sad part is that the good people of Wisconsin are the victims of this debacle.

A debacle that Pres "The Art of the Deal" Trump got sucked into not only supporting but extolling.


#7 | Posted by LampLighter at 2020-10-20 12:24 PM | Reply

Thanks.

Sounds like Walker signed WI up to give away money they didn't have just to claim something was being done.

Wonder how much he and other Repub legislators and enablers were in on the take.

#8 | Posted by jpw at 2020-10-20 12:52 PM | Reply

Is this more of those "Promises made, Promises kept" I keep reading about on the Trump billboards?

#9 | Posted by TFDNihilist at 2020-10-20 03:05 PM | Reply

"The Wisconsin project may go down as one of the biggest political and economic con-jobs the US has ever witnessed, with both Trump and Scott pushing hype and big claims over reality. Two years ago, the fear was that the project would cost the state one million dollars for every job created; in 2020, it's literally not possible to make that comparison because there are no actual jobs beyond hiring people to prop up the deal...."

Possibly poor negotiation skills, and/or lack of financial acumen.
#3 | POSTED BY MSGT AT 2020-10-19 05:51 PM

WTF MSGT? Where's your judgement on Trump and Scott's negotiation skills/financial acumen?

Oh, I get it. They're white.

#10 | Posted by rstybeach11 at 2020-10-20 03:13 PM | Reply

Donald Trump is, without a doubt, the worst businessman this country has ever seen. In the race to feed his gigantic ego and show folks how smart he is, he blew through warning light after warning light, with Scott Walker screaming from the passenger seat to go even faster. These two rubes couldn't manage to negotiate lunch with a waitress and a menu; they should be painted in as stark, unflattering a light as possible...

#11 | Posted by catdog at 2020-10-20 03:45 PM | Reply

Race to the bottom handouts and predicting the future does not work. So much for a free market system.

#12 | Posted by Brennnn at 2020-10-20 05:11 PM | Reply

Wisconsin's current governor, Tony Evers " who beat Scott Walker in some part because of his promise to find out what was really going on with the Foxconn contract " is being stymied by the state's Republican-held legislature which refuses to allow access to information about what is going on behind the scenes....

I find that concept very disturbing.

#13 | Posted by REDIAL at 2020-10-20 07:02 PM | Reply

How is that less expensive and better Trumpy healthcare plan coming along???

It was promised and due 4 years ago.

#14 | Posted by donnerboy at 2020-10-21 11:35 AM | Reply

Wait, you mean a POTUS didn't deliver on something? Wow. I'm shocked! Maybe I should go riot and loot, and then get sent to Guatanamo...

#15 | Posted by humtake at 2020-10-21 12:27 PM | Reply

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