Taiwanese-owned Foxconn is relying on eminent domain to seize Wisconsinites’ private homes for the sake of that foreign company’s project. Principles of eminent domain, sadly, have been vastly increased since a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision expanded government’s power to take from ordinary homeowners, among others.
Those expanded governmental powers mean that residents who lose their homes will likely be among those subsidizing future Foxconn workers.
The local business lobby, the Greater Whitewater Committee, showcased the Foxconn project early in 2018. There’s nothing ‘greater’ about a city, state, or country that allows these types of property seizures. Honest to goodness: Foxconn was a bad idea early in 2018, is a bad idea now, and will be a bad idea next year:
Contained within the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution is a provision commonly known as the Takings Clause, which restricts government from seizing private property “for public use, without just compensation.” When the government appropriates private property for public use under the Fifth Amendment, this power is typically referred to as eminent domain.
Projects … where government acquired private lands in order to build public facilities such as government buildings or parks was how eminent domain traditionally functioned for centuries. That all changed, however, in 2005, when the Supreme Court ruled in Kelo v. City of New London that government may seize private property from one owner and transfer it, not to the government for public use, but to another private owner. The Court stipulated the transfer from one private owner to another must be done for a “public purpose” such as generating greater economic activity. However, the promised increase in economic activity in such cases has not always materialized and often the resulting harm is significant.
The development at issue in the New London case for example never came to fruition and as a result, the once charming neighborhood is now a massive unused plot. More recently, in Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker finalized a deal with Foxconn, a Taiwanese manufacturer, to build a massive plant promised to create jobs and stimulate economic growth in the area. As part of the agreement however, many homes will be seized via eminent domain and Foxconn was given 4.5 billion in state and local subsidies. Moreover, the State of Wisconsin will also be reimbursing Foxconn 17 cents for every dollar it pays to its employees, “meaning the very taxpayers losing their homes will likely subsidize the paychecks of future Foxconn workers.” If the promised benefits are actually realized — a big if as deals of this sort can quickly fail— the state will still not be able to recoup its losses for almost two decades until the year 2043.
Via Eminent Domain No Longer Serves The Public Interest (“It is now primarily a tool for crony capitalism”).
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,” and Foxconn’s Secret Deal with UW-Madison.