A story from the Wall Street Journal‘s Valerie Bauerlein explains the damage that the Foxconn scheme has done to ordinary people in Foxconn Tore Up a Small Town to Build a Big Factory—Then Retreated (“The iPhone maker got fat incentives to build a $10 billion LCD plant that largely hasn’t materialized on land where Mount Pleasant, Wis., razed homes and crops”):
MOUNT PLEASANT, Wis.—Six miles west of Lake Michigan lies a cleared building site half as big as Central Park, ready for Foxconn Technology Group’s $10 billion liquid-crystal-display factory.
Contractors have bulldozed about 75 homes in Mount Pleasant and cleared hundreds of farmland acres. Crews are widening Interstate 94 from Milwaukee to the Illinois state line to accommodate driverless trucks and thousands of employees. Village and county taxpayers have borrowed around $350 million so far to buy land and make infrastructure improvements, from burying sewer pipes to laying storm drains.
One thing largely missing: Foxconn.
The impact on Mount Pleasant, by contrast, is palpable. Its debt rating has slipped. Local politics has become fraught. Neighbors have fallen out over land seizures.
“At some point we’re talking about things that are just imaginary,” said Nick Demske, a commissioner in Racine County, where the plant is. “We’re pretending.”
The gap separating critics of the Foxconn project – among them economists and business reporters at America’s finest universities and publications – and the boosters flacking this idea is unbridgeably wide. (I’m obviously not including myself in the ranks of august critics; it is simply enough to be able to tell the difference between wheat and chaff.)
Claims about the project sound like silly jabbering; critiques of the project are grounded in applied reason.
Someone should tell Foxconn’s local peddlers: America’s best see you clearly, and so view you dimly.
Previously: 10 Key Articles About Foxconn, Foxconn as Alchemy: Magic Multipliers, Foxconn Destroys Single-Family Homes, Foxconn Devours Tens of Millions from State’s Road Repair Budget, The Man Behind the Foxconn Project, A Sham News Story on Foxconn, Another Pig at the Trough, Even Foxconn’s Projections Show a Vulnerable (Replaceable) Workforce, Foxconn in Wisconsin: Not So High Tech After All, Foxconn’s Ambition is Automation, While Appeasing the Politically Ambitious, Foxconn’s Shabby Workplace Conditions, Foxconn’s Bait & Switch, Foxconn’s (Overwhelmingly) Low-Paying Jobs, The Next Guest Speaker, Trump, Ryan, and Walker Want to Seize Wisconsin Homes to Build Foxconn Plant, Foxconn Deal Melts Away, “Later This Year,” Foxconn’s Secret Deal with UW-Madison, Foxconn’s Predatory Reliance on Eminent Domain, Foxconn: Failure & Fraud, Foxconn Roundup: Desperately Ill Edition, Foxconn Roundup: Indiana Layoffs & Automation Everywhere, Foxconn Roundup: Outside Work and Local Land, Foxconn Couldn’t Even Meet Its Low First-Year Goal, Foxconn Talks of Folding Wisconsin Manufacturing Plans, WISGOP Assembly Speaker Vos Hopes You’re Stupid, Lost Homes and Land, All Over a Foxconn Fantasy, Laughable Spin as Industrial Policy, Foxconn: The ‘State Visit Project,’ ‘Inside Wisconsin’s Disastrous $4.5 Billion Deal With Foxconn,’ Foxconn: When the Going Gets Tough…, The Amazon-New York Deal, Like the Foxconn Deal, Was Bad Policy, Foxconn Roundup, Foxconn: The Roads to Nowhere, Foxconn: Evidence of Bad Policy Judgment, Foxconn: Behind Those Headlines, Foxconn: On Shaky Ground, Literally, Foxconn: Heckuva Supply Chain They Have There…, Foxconn: Still Empty, and the Chairman of the Board Needs a Nap, Foxconn: Cleanup on Aisle 4, Foxconn: The Closer One Gets, The Worse It Is, and Foxconn Confirms Gov. Evers’s Claim of a Renegotiation Discussion.