Accountability Is Nowhere To Be Found For Foxconn's Wisconsin Head Fake
from the hype-and-bluster dept
If you recall, the state of Wisconsin had originally promised Taiwan-based Foxconn a $3 billion subsidy if the company invested $10 billion in a Wisconsin LCD panel plant that created 13,000 jobs. But as the subsidy grew to $4.5 billion, the promised factory began to shrink further and further to the point where nobody is certain that anything meaningful is going to get built at all.
Last October, reports emerged clearly illustrating the ever-shrinking nature of the deal. They also highlighted how Foxconn was effectively just using nonsense to justify its failure to follow through, showing that while the company hadn’t built much of anything meaningful in the state, it was still routinely promising to deploy a “AI 8K+5G ecosystem” in the state to somehow make everything better. Shockingly, that mish-mash of buzz words is effectively meaningless.
Whatever Foxconn is building in the state now, it’s certainly not the massive factory that was supposed to create 13,000 jobs. Feckless leaders appear to have just finally figured out the original deal should be amended in the wake of Foxconn’s head fake (something even Foxconn seemed amenable to initially), yet documents obtained by The Verge show that the company is refusing to budge in any meaningful capacity until somebody grows a spine and forces them to:
“Documents obtained by The Verge show that Wisconsin officials have repeatedly ? and with growing urgency ? warned Foxconn that its current project has veered far from what was described in the original deal and that the contract must be amended if the company is to receive subsidies. Foxconn, however, has declined to amend the contract, and it indicated that it nevertheless intends to apply for tax credits.
Foxconn has ?refused by inaction? to amend the deal, says Wisconsin Department of Administration Secretary Joel Brennan. ?They were continuously encouraged. It?s a relatively recent development, where they have said, ?No, we don?t want to do anything with the contract.? Our expectation has been, and continues to be, that they should want to come back and have discussions about this.”
Local politicians have compared the scandal to the Fyre Festival, and many locals say the company is being aggressively secretive and often misleading. Even many of the “innovation hubs”, which Foxconn promised would somehow be better than the ever-shrinking factory it originally proposed, are little more than empty buildings at this juncture, and we still seem miles away from the company — or any of the project’s original architects and hype men (Paul Ryan, Scott Walker, Donald Trump) — being held accountable in any way that actually matters.
Meanwhile, the few jobs that are created by Foxconn’s efforts could ultimately cost state taxpayers anywhere between $300,000 to $500,000 per job, once again highlighting how we may just want to reconsider this generation-long habit of throwing billions at giant corporations for doing nothing.