Highlight’s from The Verge’s Foxconn Assessment

No failure better reveals the bankruptcy of corporate welfare in the Walker and Trump years than the Foxconn project in Wisconsin: exaggeration upon exaggeration, but nothing productive. This was a failure of judgment so obvious and significant that everyone involved should retire from policymaking. Walker Administration, Trump Administration, the WISGOP, the WEDC, down to Whitewater’s Community Development Authority, and her business lobby the Greater Whitewater Committee: a brimming basket of buffoonery.

National reporting on Foxconn at The Verge has been excellent, and Josh Dzieza’s exhaustive Inside the empty promises and empty buildings of Wisconn Valley is worth reading in full. Below, I’ve republished their Twitter summary of the story. The nine-tweet Twitter thread begins on 10.19.20 @ 9:09 AM:

President Trump struck a deal with Foxconn that promised to turn Wisconsin into a tech manufacturing powerhouse in exchange for billions in tax subsidies. Three years later, the factory — and the jobs — don’t exist, and they probably never will


Foxconn had said it would build a 20-million-square-foot LCD complex in Wisconsin. Instead, it constructed an empty building 1/20th that size


The company said it would aim to employ 5,200 people at the end of this year, a number that was to grow to 13,000. At the end of 2019, Wisconsin found it employed only 281 people eligible under the terms of the contract


Foxconn attempted to exploit a loophole in its contract with the state by hiring a sufficient number of employees to receive subsidies just before the end of the year. Employees were hired with no actual work to do. Many were laid off after the deadline passed


Employees describe a toxic workplace, where supervisors often berated and publicly humiliated employees. Many of the original Wisconsin hires have quit or been laid off


Despite publicly insisting it was building an LCD factory, as early as 2018 Foxconn employees had been asked to figure out a business plan for the company in Wisconsin. Records show Foxconn recently changed the intended use of its factory from manufacturing to storage


Foxconn’s search for a viable business led it to consider everything from fish farming to exporting dairy to renting storage space. Almost every idea collapsed in corporate infighting and a reluctance to spend money


Very little manufacturing ever occurred with the Foxconn project. The company has started a small manufacturing line making servers, and now says it is making ventilators, but no employees or state officials could say whether any have been produced


In the end, the Foxconn debacle in Wisconsin is the physical manifestation of the alternate reality that has defined the Trump administration

Previously: 10 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 All, Foxconn’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 Plant, Foxconn Deal Melts Away“Later This Year,” Foxconn’s Secret Deal with UW-Madison, Foxconn’s Predatory Reliance on Eminent Domain, Foxconn: 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 Plans, WISGOP 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 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, Foxconn Confirm Gov. Evers’s Claim of a Renegotiation DiscussionAmerica’s Best Know Better, Despite Denials, Foxconn’s Empty Buildings Are Still Empty, Right on Schedule – A Foxconn Delay, Foxconn: Reality as a (Predictable) Disappointment, Town Residents Claim Trump’s Foxconn Factory Deal Failed Them, Foxconn: Independent Study Confirms Project is Beyond Repair, It Shouldn’t, Foxconn: Wrecking Ordinary Lives for Nothing, Hey, Wisconsin, How About an Airport-Coffee Robot?, Be Patient, UW-Madison: Only $99,300,000.00 to Go!, Foxconn: First In, Now Out, Foxconn on the Same Day: Yes…um, just kidding, we mean no, Foxconn: ‘Innovation Centers’ Gone in a Puff of Smoke, Foxconn: Worse Than Nothing, Foxconn: 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 Later, Foxconn & UW-Madison: Two Years and Less Than One Percent Later…, andAccountability Comes Calling at Foxconn.

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3 years ago

We have been badly served by our “leaders”.

Foxconn is a really bad place to work, according to first-hand accounts:

Even if all of the roses came up for Walker/Vos/Fitz and 13,000 were punching their time-cards for Foxconn, this is what we would be hearing from Racine.

A bullet dodged…