Foxconn? What’s Foxconn?

The Scene from Whitewater, WisconsinOne reads that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker downplays Foxconn because deal not a sure campaign winner:

MADISON – Scott Walker said the state would ink a $3 billion contract this week with Asian tech giant Foxconn Technology Group, even as he downplayed the deal and pointed to other jobs being created through his administration.

As Walker launches his bid for a third term and as the polling on the Foxconn project has been lackluster so far, the governor has taken a different tone on the bid to bring a flat-screen plant to Racine County. 

After spending months touting the up to 13,000 jobs at the proposed plant, the GOP governor didn’t mention Foxconn at his 2018 re-election kickoff on Sunday. He kept his distance again on Monday when conservative talk radio host Jerry Bader asked Walker about Sunday’s omission.

“Those 13,000 jobs are no more important than the 13 jobs that we helped the small business (create) in Green Bay or Superior or La Crosse,” Walker told Bader, who is based in Green Bay. “Whether it’s 13 jobs, 130 jobs, 1,300 jobs or 13,000 jobs, they’re all important to us”….

Oh dearie me: Walker flacked those Foxconn job projections incessantly, and now he won’t even mention the deal in his re-election announcement.

A few simple questions:

1. Did Gov. Walker ever truly believe in the 13,000 jobs figure? If he did, why did he do so? If he didn’t, why did he allow the number to be offered without rebuke or correction?

2. If Gov. Walker no longer believes in the 13,000 jobs figure (assuming that he once did), then what’s changed his mind?

3. Does Gov. Walker – or any policymaker – really think that 13, 130, 1,300, or 13,000 are implicitly numbers of equal importance?

If he thinks any number is important, why not stop at 13 jobs created for the 3 billion investment, and call it a day?

4. The obvious question for JS reporter Jason Stein: does Walker downplay Foxconn only because it’s polling poorly? (“A survey last month from the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling found 34% of registered voters statewide supported the deal and 41% opposed it, with 26% undecided.”) Alternatively, is he also downplaying the deal because he knows – at least now – that it’s not going to live to his own hype?

If the problem is that the deal was always over-talked, what does that say about the competency or honesty of Wisconsin’s governor?

5. Finally, here in Whitewater, we’ve had more than one man push WEDC projects, one after another, for years. So faithfully have some offered apologetics for WEDC and other publicly-funded business deals that Whitewater even has a WEDC 2012 Main Street Best Business Citizen recipient.

Gentlemen, gentlemen: WEDC and Gov. Walker need you now. Will you not help them calculate prospective employees for Foxconn, and afterward help them distinguish between amounts of 13, 130, 1,300, or 13,000?

I’m sure they’d be so very grateful for your assistance.

Ryan on Foxconn

Paul Ryan, when not touting that it’s time to build a wall on our southern border, is busy emailing tired phrases (‘game-changer’, ‘hard-working’, ‘bottom line’) in support of huge public subsidies for Foxconn.

Here’s the text of his recent email about Foxconn, so we may look back and see how the project fares against his promises:

Ryan: Foxconn deal is a game-changer for Wisconsin
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel8/4/2017By now, you have likely heard the good news. The electronics giant Foxconn is coming to Wisconsin, with plans to add 13,000 jobs, in total, in our region.
This is an absolute game-changer. It means more good-paying jobs and opportunities for hard-working Wisconsinites. And it shows the rest of the country — and the world — that our area truly is a manufacturing powerhouse.
***
I could not have been more excited to make our case to Foxconn’s CEO, Terry Gou. It went something like this: I was born and raised in southeastern Wisconsin. In the late 2000’s, Wisconsin suffered manufacturing loses, and it was devastating for people all across southeastern Wisconsin. But Wisconsinites are resilient—in the face of adversity, we push through. And today, manufacturing in Wisconsin has made a remarkable comeback, and things are only getting better.
***
Of course, there is a lot more we can do, especially on the national level. Take taxes. Right now, we have this crazy system where successful small businesses in our country pay a top marginal tax rate of 44.6 percent. And our overall corporate tax rate is 35 percent.
***
We clearly need to fix our tax code. Our committees in Congress are working on a bold plan as we speak. This is something I have been talking about lately with workers throughout Wisconsin, including employees at Allis-Roller, LDV, InPro, Geneva Supply, and InSinkErator.
With tax reform, you get tax cuts that will ease the burden on you and your family. You get a simpler tax code—so simple that you can do your taxes on a form the size of a postcard. (Wouldn’t that be something?) And you get real fairness—fewer loopholes for special interests and a level playing field for everyone.
The bottom line is that, through all the drama and distractions in Washington, we are focused on the real problems that you care about—especially when it comes to jobs and paychecks.
***
Foxconn’s decision is exciting, but it is just one step. In Congress, I will continue to fight for pro-employee, pro-business, pro-job policies. It’s what my employers in the First District care about, and it’s a privilege to fight for them in Washington.
To read the op-ed online in its entirety, click here.