Daily Bread for 5.9.24: A Reminder on Whitewater’s Fumbling & Stumbling Old Guard

Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will see morning showers with a high of 59. Sunrise is 5:36 and sunset 8:05 for 14h 28m 43s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 2.9 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1662, the figure who later became Mr. Punch makes his first recorded appearance in England.

FREE WHITEWATER has chronicled and critiqued the failed corporate welfare scheme that was the Wisconsin Foxconn project (links to many of those posts at the bottom of this post). Now, with Foxconn nothing more than a shell project vanished into the fog, there’s a genuine, private, multi-billion dollar Microsoft investment on that Wisconsin site: Microsoft AI center on site of Trump’s failed Foxconn deal? (‘The multibillion-dollar [private!] investment is expected to create 2,000 permanent jobs and 2,300 temporary union construction jobs’).

In Whitewater, an old guard of bankers, landlords, lobbyists, public relations men, etc., pushed Foxconn more than once. Any ordinary person of normal reasoning and sound basic knowledge would have seen Foxconn was a political scheme masquerading as a legitimate project. And yet, somehow, these same Whitewater types hold themselves out as experts on development policy. They backed a joke plan because they were — and are — unsuited to serious policy. See A Sham News Story on Foxconn. (The local business group was the ‘Greater’ Whitewater Committee.)

Trickle-down sloganeering is the best these local types have ever produced. It’s not a free market they want; small-town boosterism and cronyism haven’t uplifted household and individual incomes in this city. See A Candid Admission from the Whitewater CDA.

Some of these men, when at the Community Development Authority, let this city languish while promoting themselves. Even at the tail end of an economic boom, these gentlemen were walking around trying to figure out which end was up. See Whitewater’s Still Waiting for That Boom.

Whitewater deserves better than this ilk. These men deserve an ongoing critique, and detailed review of their record, if they capture that institution again.

Here is the Foxconn scheme, that these local, old-guard Whitewater men touted, as succinctly described in a national story:

In 2018, when Foxconn, at Trump’s urging, announced plans to create 13,000 good-paying jobs in Mount Pleasant, Wis., he celebrated the company’s $10 billion venture as the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” Wielding a golden shovel, Trump touted the Foxconn flat-panel display factory as evidence of a broad manufacturing revival stirred by his 2017 tax cuts and tariffs on imported steel. “You know, 18 months ago, this was a field, and now it’s one of the most advanced places of any kind you’ll see anywhere in the world. It’s incredible,” Trump crowed.

The Foxconn facility was to have included dozens of buildings dotting a giant plot of land three times the size of New York’s Central Park. But the project accomplished little more than the destruction of 100 local homes and farms before the company drastically scaled back its ambitions.

In 2020, Wisconsin state officials denied the Taiwanese company special tax credits, saying it had abandoned its original commitment, employed fewer than 520 people and spent just $300 million. Local taxpayers were left with a tab of more than $500 million for site preparation.

By last summer, Foxconn had built four structures on one corner of the site, which were in sporadic use, according to locals. One large building that was originally billed as a manufacturing facility was being used as a warehouse, one former employee said. Foxconn at the time said it employed 1,000 people in Mount Pleasant building computer servers. The flat-panel display factory never materialized.

On Foxconn previously10 Key Articles About FoxconnFoxconn as Alchemy: Magic Multipliers,  Foxconn Destroys Single-Family HomesFoxconn Devours Tens of Millions from State’s Road Repair BudgetThe Man Behind the Foxconn ProjectA Sham News Story on Foxconn, Another Pig at the TroughEven Foxconn’s Projections Show a Vulnerable (Replaceable) WorkforceFoxconn in Wisconsin: Not So High Tech After AllFoxconn’s Ambition is Automation, While Appeasing the Politically Ambitious, Foxconn’s Shabby Workplace ConditionsFoxconn’s Bait & SwitchFoxconn’s (Overwhelmingly) Low-Paying JobsThe Next Guest SpeakerTrump, Ryan, and Walker Want to Seize Wisconsin Homes to Build Foxconn PlantFoxconn Deal Melts Away“Later This Year,” Foxconn’s Secret Deal with UW-Madison, Foxconn’s Predatory Reliance on Eminent DomainFoxconn: Failure & FraudFoxconn 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 PlansWISGOP Assembly Speaker Vos Hopes You’re StupidLost 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 PolicyFoxconn RoundupFoxconn: The Roads to NowhereFoxconn: Evidence of Bad Policy Judgment, Foxconn: Behind Those HeadlinesFoxconn: On Shaky Ground, LiterallyFoxconn: Heckuva Supply Chain They Have There…Foxconn: Still Empty, and the Chairman of the Board Needs a NapFoxconn: Cleanup on Aisle 4Foxconn: The Closer One Gets, The Worse It Is, Foxconn Confirm Gov. Evers’s Claim of a Renegotiation DiscussionAmerica’s Best Know BetterDespite Denials, Foxconn’s Empty Buildings Are Still EmptyRight on Schedule – A Foxconn DelayFoxconn: Reality as a (Predictable) Disappointment, Town Residents Claim Trump’s Foxconn Factory Deal Failed ThemFoxconn: Independent Study Confirms Project is Beyond Repair, It Shouldn’tFoxconn: Wrecking Ordinary Lives for NothingHey, Wisconsin, How About an Airport-Coffee Robot?Be Patient, UW-Madison: Only $99,300,000.00 to Go!Foxconn: First In, Now OutFoxconn on the Same Day: Yes…um, just kidding, we mean noFoxconn: ‘Innovation Centers’ Gone in a Puff of SmokeFoxconn: Worse Than NothingFoxconn: State of Wisconsin Demands Accountability, Foreign Corporation Stalls, Foxconn Notices the NoticeableJournal Sentinel’s Rick Romell Reports the Obvious about Foxconn Project, Foxconn’s ‘Innovation’ Centers: Still Empty a Year LaterFoxconn & UW-Madison: Two Yearsand Less Than One Percent Later…Accountability Comes Calling at FoxconnHighlight’s from The Verge’s Foxconn AssessmentAfter Years of Promises, Foxconn Will Think of Something…by JulyFoxconn’s Venture Capital FundNew, More Realistic Deal Means 90% Reduction in Goals, Seth Meyers on One of Trump’s (and Walker’s) Biggest Scams, the Foxconn Deal, and Adding the Amounts Spent for Foxconn (So Far).

Daily Bread for 1.2.24: A List of Top State Government Stories in 2023

 Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 33. Sunrise is 7:25 and sunset 4:32 for 9h 07m 15s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 64.1% of its visible disk illuminated. 

On this day in 1777, American forces under the command of George Washington repulse a British attack at the Battle of the Assunpink Creek near Trenton, New Jersey.

  Steven Walters has a list of the Top 10 State Government Stories of 2023. It’s a solid recounting of the biggest state issues of 2023. His Numbers 1 and 2 would appear on any list of major Wisconsin events: 

1. Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Janet Protasiewicz not only won a 10-year term on the state Supreme Court, but she won by a landslide in the most expensive ($51 million by candidates and outside groups) judicial race in the nation’s history. Her win gave liberals their first majority on the seven-member court in 12 years.

2. In December, that new Supreme Court majority ruled that Assembly and Senate boundaries Republicans drew in 2021 were unconstitutional. The court gave all sides a Jan. 12 deadline to submit new district lines for November elections and named two experts to advise the justices on next steps. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said the ruling would be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

After his top ten, Walters mentions a few other big stories, and a post-Foxconn future is rightly among them:

Microsoft paid $50 million for 315 acres of Mount Pleasant land owned by Foxconn, officially retiring the 2018 promise by then-President Trump, ex-Gov. Scott Walker and ex-U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan that Foxconn’s investment in Racine County would create a high-tech, “eighth wonder of the world.” Microsoft says two data centers will be built.

FREE WHITEWATER has a category dedicated to the Foxconn debacle. 

In Whitewater (see A Sham News Story on Foxconn) and too many other places, support for the Wisconsin Foxconn project was (and should have been) a sign of dog-crap-quality policymaking. 

This Microbe May Someday Replace Your Steak:

“Someday,” however, is not today.

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